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SRI LANKA: GARDEN NATION GEORGIA: SOUTHERN COMFORT TOP SIX SKI: WHERE IS THE BEST Ryanair's winter

Lingus options

R U O

Y

e d a r T

Watersports in Kerry

R E P PA

IRELAND'S PREMIER SOURCE OF TRAVEL INFORMATION Free

OCTOBER 2015

VOLUME 19 NUMBER 9

Easter week & other secrets of the 2015-6 ski season

Who fears to speak


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Page 003 News 14/09/2015 15:17 Page 1

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Canada’s e-move

C

Electronic visa waiver applies from next March

anada will require visitors from Ireland and other visa waiver countries to have Electronic Travel Authorisation in advance from March 15 2016. ETA costs Ca$7 (€4.75, less than half the ESTA charge for USA which costs US$14) and the government says most permissions will be granted within minutes. It will last for five years, two years more than the USA's ESTA which is valid for two years. The application form and guide are already live. Documents will not be required until March 15 2016, the Canadian government said this month. As it stands, Irish holiday makers wishing to travel to Canada can do so

cations are genrally granted straightaway but if there is a delay )(as happened Travel Etxra’s editor this sumemr) the visa can be arranged at the airport in emergency circumstanvces. Since early 2014 some classes of business travel are now charged for their e-visa.

INDIA Newest memebr fo the e-

visa club, Irish passport holders can access India by e-visa. Our thanks to India’s ambassador Mrs Radhika Lal Lokesh in getting this measure implemented. Ireland, Belgium, Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden are

NEWS

TROLLTUNGA Norwegian rock

formation Trolltunga was described as “an accident waiting to happen” after a student fell to her death in a site that owes much its popularity to the rise of selfies and social media.

POCKETS The extravagant BauBax

travel jacket, fitted with 15 pockets and a builtin neck pillow was named the most funded clothing item crowdfunded on Kickstarter after raising $1.25m.

DISNEY will break ground on the two

Star Wards Lands in 2016.

HERTZ is offering quadruple points to Nectar loyalty programme members.

VEGAS Siegfried & Roy introduced four

Another lot of online clickwork for holidaymakers to bear

without a visa, however the Department of Foreign Affairs says entrants may need to prove they have sufficient funds to support their stay. Non-Irish and those wishing to stay

for a long period should check with the Canadian Embassy of online before travel as they may require a visa.k.

among 36 countries added to the eVisa facilityThe designation for “casual business travellers” in the new India e-visa, available to Irish travelling public since last week, has been casing some confusion.

official channel by paying Google to appear at the top of the listings when a search is made. The site run by evisa.eu.com, for example, charges £55 – more than four times as much as you pay at the correct website, evisa.gov.tr.

THE VISA WAIVER MATRIX

AUSTRALIA Online apliu-

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 3

TURKEY's new "Law on For-

eigners" takes effect next Friday April 11 onwards, after which every visitor is supposed to have an e-visa (apply here). Visitors arriving to Turkey without visas will still be able to obtain their e-visas via interactive kiosks placed in Turkish airports." The move has spawned a number of get-rich-quick websites that seek to divert unwitting travellers from the

USA

ESTA is available on line and lasts for two years. If you overstayed a visa in the past you will be required to applyat the embassy but the consular service says that the vast majority of applications are granted. Holders of passport countries such as Poland are not yet entitled to visa waiver and have to apply online for an appointment at the embassy.

six-week-old tiger cubs at their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.

CUBA bookings from Ireland for summer 2015 were more than double previous years and advance bookings for 2016 are also running at three times last year’s rate, despite price hikes caused by the anticipated US tourism boom on the island. Cuba’s hotel and ground handling contracts will move to the dollar on November 1 as a result of the new rapprochement with the USA but travel trade are not forced to take a risk on currency because they are not able to buy forward dollars. Cuba has seen a 17pc increase in tourists following an easing of relations with the US.

VOYAGES SNCF's website now

provides access to the whole rail network in Germany, including high-speed ICE services, under a new partnership with Deutsche Bahn. ICE services also connect German cities with destinations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Switzerland.

UNFRIENDLY The world’s un-

friendliest cities according to Travel+Leisure magazine in New York: 1 Moscow, 2 Atlantic City, 3 St Petersburg, 4 Marseille, 5 Los Angeles, 6 New York, 7 Philadelphia, 8 Baltimore, 9 Las Vegas, 10 Cannes.

VISIT FLORIDA signed rapper Pitbull as a state tourism ambassador.

Book your Summer 2016 Holiday! ONLINE: falconholidays.ie CALL: 1850 45 35 45

Antalya, NEW! Turkey amaica Mexico and J

VISIT: Falcon Travel Shops Local Travel Agent Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Falcon is fully bonded and licensed by CAR (TO 021). Departures from Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports.


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 4

THE KNOWLEDGE Travel Extra Advertising & Subscriptions 59 Rathfarnham Road Terenure Dublin D6W AK70 t+3531 295 7418 Editorial Office Clownings Straffan Co Kildare W23 C6X9

Managing Editor: Gerry O’Hare gerry@travelextra.ie Editor: Eoghan Corry eoghan.corry@ travelextra.ie Publisher: Edmund Hourican edmund@bizex.ie Sales Director: Maureen Ledwith maureen@bizex.ie t: +3531 291 3700 Sales Manager Paulette Moran paulette@bizex.ie t: +353 (0)1 291 3702 Accounts and Advertising: Maria Sinnot maria@bizex.ie T: +3531 291 3707 Distribution Manager Shane Hourican shane@bizex.ie t: +3531 291 3706 Pictures: pix@travelextra.ie Sunday Supplement & Online: Conor McMahon conor@travelextra.ie Chief Features Writer: Anne Cadwallader anne@travelextra.ie Contributors : Eanna Brophy eanna@travelextra.ie Marie Carberry marie@travelextra.ie Carmel Higgins carmel@travelextra.ie Cauvery Madhavan cauvery@travelextra.ie Sean Mannion sean@grafacai.ie Catherine Murphy cathmurph@yahoo.com

Travel Extra takes no responsibility for errors and omissions. Origination: Typeform

Printer: W&G Baird Limited Greystone Press Caulside Drive Antrim BT41 2RS

CONTENTS

www.travelextra.ie

6 Hotels: News 8 Postcards: News from the trade

10 Ski: The season ahead 24-25 Sri Lanka: Island of dreams 26 Afloat: Norwegian are next 28-32 Flying: Airline and airport news

33 Ireland: Home holiday news 34 Global Village Inside the travel industry 36 Window seat: Our columnists 37 Pictures: Out and about

Selling ski and snow or less which can make it worth sacrificing other advantages, particularly on a short break. The efficient public transport systems in Norway and Switzerland mean that clients can take control of their own transfers and travel by rail. Don’t forget you have to haul bags in and out of carriages, a factor for families. Short transfers offered in Austria from Salzburg are a bonus.

E

xpectations of a skiing holiday are high at the best of times. Choosing the right package is down to identifying needs. If you get it right, your clients will book ski with you for winters to come. Get it wrong, and they won’t come back.

BUDGET It is all

about budget. This needs to be established at the very beginning of the conversation along with finding out their expectations of the resort, ski area or accommodation.

VALUE If you are

not tied to dates, travelling with a family, or in a job like teaching, look out for low season dates such as mid January or St Patrick’s week, where you can get really good value and ONLY from the tour operators.

GROUPS If people want to travel in a group, and stay in the same hotel, you need to plan and get your booking in early. Remind the customer that only agents and tour operators offer these group deals. GEAR Skiing needs gear, and gear weighs a lot. Remind clients they need a proper luggage allowance if they are bringing their own, as ski boots can weigh up to 7kg.

BUYING GEAR If it is their first ski holiday, borrow from friends. Clients don’t need to buy skis. With changing technologies every year, it is much better to rent your skis in resort. BUT, if you find a comfortable pair of boots, buy them! Great Outdoors in Dublin have a great boot fitter called

KNOW your piste:

Selling ski is no longer an uphill task Neil. In resort, check out great deals in Livigno, Andorra, and end of season in Austria, especially in the Hervis chain. At home, check out TK Maxx in season, watch for deals in LIDL and ALDI but if you need serious kit head for places like Great Outdoors who know what they are talking about. Tour operator clients can get discounts there on production of their invoice.

MANAGE expectations. Some of the destinations come with well groomed reputations that are outdated or have been endangered by complacency. What is the skiing ability of the family members? Does the resort match their requirements?

WHEN you tell peo-

ple exactly what is included it removes all the hassle. What is included in the package – flight, hotel, transfer, meals, lift pass, ski hire, childcare? What can be pre-booked from home to save time on arrival?

AREAS The days

when resorts operated their own slice of mountain ended two decades ago with the linking of huge ski areas with cable cars and funiculars, the Four Valleys, Les Trois Vallées, Espace Killy Skiwelt, Ski amadé, Kitzbüheler Alpen, Paradiski, Grandvalira, (there are more). That means you don’t have to stay in the flagship resort to enjoy all the skiing. Look out for cheaper and less crowded options or niche resorts that link into large ski areas.

TRANSFERS

Remember transfers can be long and awkward, even if you reach the resort, which can be a three hour experience, on a slow bus navigating narrow winding mountain roads, the drop off at the hotel can add to the journey and occasionally there can be an unexpected stop when the driver is out of hours. Clients should be prepared for all eventualities. Some resorts have short transfers of an hour

do as much as you can to familiarise yourself (and therefore the client) with the product before they leave. Study piste maps for major resorts all available online, that way you can both start planning their first morning’s skiing before they leave. Attend the training courses offered by tour operators.

EXTRAS Get them ready for the prices they might encounter, which might do them an injury not unlike the one they might encounter on the slopes. You can pay €100 for four drinks in the nightclub in Verbier. Drink is cheap in Andorra or Livigno, but everything up the mountain is three times what you pay down in the valley. The trip down from Les Arcs to Bourg St Maurice can be worthwhile and enhance the holiday experience.

MEALS Most resorts have a good reputation for cuisine and lively, if expensive, nightlife. The pattern is breakfast in the hotel, lunch up the mountain and dinner back in the town. Half board limits the options of the clients – do they really want to

eat in the same hotel every night? Is lunch for children included? Does the operator have an early tea for kids to give parents a bit of peace?

FAMILY Some re-

sorts offer the non skier lots of facilities; if they have a mixed family, mention the towns that are natural spa towns for those who want the best of both worlds. Find out about childcare. Is it on site? Are staff qualified? What is the staff-to-child ratio? Are staff local or employed by the tour operator? Is there an evening club, babysitting or baby listening service so parents don’t have to turn in at the same time as their kids? How close is the ski school?

NON SKIERS

If there are non-skiers in the party, make sure to tell them to pick a resort which is close to a major city such as Innsbruck, Salzburg of Annecy near Chamonix. Pick a spa resort such as Bad Hofgastein or head for duty free Andorra where you can indulge in shopping, as well as spa in the capital Andorra la Vella.

LESSONS Are lessons exclusive to the tour operator or organised locally? Are there less expensive options? Most resorts are dominated by one or two large ski schools which may not offer the best value. MAKE them laugh

with this piece of (useful) advice: Ditch those high heels and leather soles. You land in resort at midnight. You get off the bus, and the legs go from underneath you in the ice.


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PUNTA HAS CANA IT

Email: uk@godominicanrepublic.com • Visit: www.godominicanrepublic.com Study: go-dominicanrepublic.eu


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 6

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HOTELS

TRIVAGO’s hotel price index for September 2015 shows month-on-month prices down 14pc across Ireland this month, with only Dublin (up 4pc) and Belfast (up 1pc) showing increases compared with August. Sligo saw the biggest decline down 22pc to €100, Galway was down 20pc to €111, Killarney down 20pc to €132, Dingle down 20pc to €99 and Kinsale down 20pc to €113. Thanks to euro slippage, Belfast (up 28pc) and Derry (up 11pc) are both significantly more expensive year on year. PREM Group announced a funding pack-

age worth €30m with Proventus Capital Partners. The Group ’manages and operates 42 hotels and serviced apartments sin Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and England, with 3,000 rooms and 1,500 employees.

EXAMINERSHIP Aiden Murphy of

Crowe Horwath said legislation around the Examinership process make it a more likely option for hotels in 2016. He said 40 of the 811 hotels in Ireland (17pc) have been placed in receivership since 2008, and only 15 (2pc) went into examinership. There are many regional hotels who have survived the recession and where profits are improving but which still need to repair their over indebted balance sheet. The examinership process may now offer a viable solution and one we believe will be a key trend in the next 18 months.

CLAYTON Pat McCann of Dalata was

non-committal about the €36m expansion of Clayton Hotel in Dublin from 367 to 466 bedrooms, to become second largest in the country after 492-bedroom Citywest, pointing out that the plans were lodged by the previous owners. "We have received the permission and will be assessing its potential."

INTERCONTINENTAL Dublin

confirmed that Clement Gaffney, former director of Lough Rynn and Kilronan Hotels, will take up his position as GM this month. The hotel is undergoing a €5m refurbishment.

HOTELS .com said the average room

rate for their Irish stock rose to €116 per night in the first half of 2015. Hotels.com, which represents just 10pc of Irish hotel inventory, said its prices rose by 15pc in H1 to an average room rate of €116pn. Dublin and Belfast saw the biggest increases with Dublin up 19pc to €128pn, Cork up 9pc to €99, Galway up 10pc to €110 and Sligo up 18pc to €95.

BURLINGTON A jump of 20pc in

average revenue from rooms at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Dublin 4 helped grow pretax profits eight fold to €2.15m.

AIRBNB emailed Irish hosts asking to

lobby the Government in a bid to secure the tax reliefs available under the rent-a-room scheme.

GN Asset Management bought Limerick's

CHOICE Hotels International’s Comfort South Court Hotel.

Inn will be smoke-free from 2016, joining sister brand Comfort Suites.

WOODLANDS House Hotel in

Adare, Co Limerick has earned a four-star rating following a €1m refurbishment.

Michael Davern and the new Liffey Wing at the K Club

K Club’s west wing

Straffan 5-star to 140 rooms after €20m investment

T

he K Club filled 140 bedrooms last month for the first time in its history, having completed the 70-bedroom €20m Liffey Wing to the west side of the hotel with a range of 410 sq ft to 800 sq ft bedrooms. The official opening of the new wing will be on November 13th. Michael says: “Seventy rooms was too small for the conference and meetings in that market.” “The incentive business from North America is always very strong. We would get incentive business from North America that others would not get a look at, maybe new business to Ireland, because of being a Ryder Cup venue.”

“We need more rooms to capitalize on this. You are looking at the market and saying what type of business would Gleneagles in Scotland be getting. That type of business that would not be typically Irish being close to the airport. “I was over at Virtuosos in America. Ashford castle won the award, Ireland was back in the top ten destinations and we are a big story again. “All the agents were saying what fantastic value we are because of the dollar. When I said rooms were ¢400 they said: is that all?” “More corporates are back into golf. For a time it was the wrong thing to be seeing doing anything

golf. Ground floor rooms enjoy direct access to a private terrace and all rooms offer views to Liffey or the gardens with lofty ceilings, air conditioning, huge windows, mini bars, Nespresso coffee machines and spacious hand painted bathrooms with twin sinks, extra deep baths and separate power showers with traditional and rain water heads. The former swimming pool is now the conference centre. Michael says: “we have covered off the air conditioning problem for when we get another heat wave.”

DALATA EYES DUBLIN EXPANSION

P

at McCann is raising

€160m in the com-

ing weeks to fund Dalata’s plans to build more hotels in Dublin city centre. The group is also in talks to buy assets from NAMA and the banks. He expects

the Gresham, currently owned by Precinct Investments and controlled by Nama, to be put on the market within three to four weeks for €60m. An aggressive push into the UK market, from the latter part of 2016 onwards,

will form the next phase of the group’s programme. The group spent €524m on new hotels in the last half-year, during the period, mostly through its takeover of the majority of the Moran-Bewley group, with €71.4m spent else-

where. Management said the Moran-Bewley side of the business has outperformed initial expectations and it and the other newly acquired hotels, which contributed over €19m to first half earnings

15pc on last year "in a very, very healthy year for the hotel". Galway developer John Lally took over the luxury hotel in July 2013. Rory O'Sullivan took up his post late last year after working at the five-star Park Hotel

in Kenmare following on from the initial refurbishment of the Corrib Banqueting Suite in 2013. This summer the hotel played host to the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, during his State visit.

Rory O’ Sullivan said “The refurbishment process has given Glenlo Abbey Hotel real momentum to build upon the fine standing that the hotel garnered since its initial opening in 1992

GLENLO ABBEY GETS €2M REFURB

T

he five star Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway has refurbished each of the 46 bedrooms under a two year €2m redevelopment of the main house and bedrooms. Rory O’Sullivan said that revenues are up 10-


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4am is new 5am D

Back to deep queue-days at Dublin Airport

ublin airport has brought forward the security shift times to 4am in a bid to beat the early morning gridlock at the airport. While airport numbers are up 15pc this year and are on course for 24.9m, a disproportionate increase has impacted on the early morning flights with the 15 machines in Terminal 1 under particular pressure. Security staff who arrived for work found that queues had already formed Queues at Terminal 2, which is used by Aer Lingus and long haul operators, have also intensified as the airport deals with extra demand for flights to meet the long haul wave out of Heathrow. The situation is expected to be eased by the introduction of automatic tray return, two were used on trial last year. Queue times for security at Dublin airport are regualted and kick in if they extend beyond 45 minutes.

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 7

NEWS

CARLSON Rezidor opened three

properties in Africa and Mauritius on the same day: Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace hotel, Brazzaville, Congo, Radisson Blu Azuri resort and Spa, Mauritius, and Radisson Blu Poste La Fayette Resort and Spa, Mauritius.

UBER An EU study is to determine

whether Uber is a transport service or just a digital service. The number of private hire vehicles in London rose 26pc as a result of Uber.

MARRIOTT brand Ritz-Carlton is to

get a new brand voice. The new website will cater for executive floor bookings at Intercontinental properties. Marriott International will open its first Edition hotel in Dubai in 2018. Hotel Maritim Halle will house 740 asylum seekers.

CHOICE Hotels International’s Comfort Inn will be smoke-free from 2016, joining sister brand Comfort Suites.

Dublin squashed 96,931 through one terminal on August 6 2006, August bank holiday sent the scales tipping past 80,000 passengers a day. On school holiday weekend, Sunday June 28 91,698 passed through

RADISSON Blu will open two resorts in Mauritius, the Radisson Blu Azuri Resort & Spa and the Radisson Blue Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa.

Dublin airport’s two terminals, the GRAND Hyatt Seoul launched a lifestyle busiest day at the airport in eight app, offering information on hotel rooms, years. The refurbished food hall in T1 restaurants, events and places of interest. reopened on September 15.


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 8

POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

eet the drones was an appropriate name for an event in Weston airport this month. and not all of the drones were of the flying variety, as a succession of speakers droned on and on about health and safety and legal issues. There was lots of footage of how flying your drone can go horribly wrong and various legal and law enforcement personnel raised the security and privacy

M

issues involved. The law is about twenty years behind the drone operators but a few points emerged, seek permission if you are flying a device over 20kg, flying more than 400 feet over the ground and check with landowners before crossing their land. Picture shows Julie Garland and Ralph James, Director of Safety Regulation, Irish Aviation Authority holding a Phantom 3 drone at the event.

R

business comes through the trade and the trade would be protected from the cruise line going direct to the customer, despite a surge in onboard rebookings. Royal Caribbean wants to strengthen relationships with the trade and wants to engage with more agents as they have only been dealing with a limited number of agents: “we are not selective”. Picture shows Ben Bouldin and Michaela banks at the start of their journey.

E

The journey offered stunning views of the Greenland coast. Europe Airpost have 24 seats in premium economy with some of the best PE food in the sky. Picture shows Kim Jardine of Nova Scotia Tourism, Linda Macken of ATTS, MIchael Flood of ITTN, Gerry Benson of Travelbiz, Catherine Grennell White of ATTS, Richard and, in front, Eoghan Corry of Travel Extra and Jonathan Toms of Destination Halifax.

oyal Caribbean set off on this month on a nationwide journey with two Hertz vehicles this

month. They had a #Jumponboard catchline and a target of 110 agency calls. Ben Bouldin said that Royal’s Irish bookings from Ireland are up 35pc this year, and that Royal Caribbean’s product fits perfectly with he Irish consumer. Royal Caribbean says 80pc of their

urope Airpost/ASL Aviation wil extend their Dublin to Halifax 737 service in 2016. Recently they brought some travel writers to dinner in canada to test the theory that day flights leave no jet-lag. The chosen three sampled some lobster at the Five Fishermen restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and overnighted in the Delta Barrington Hotel before returning to Dublin the following day.

ilversea Cruise Lines brought Silver Cloud to Belfast, Dublin and Waterford this month. They hosted travel trade at both tbeir Belfast and Dublin stops. Amanda Middler said: "It was lovely to see Silver Cloud in Dublin this month and to be able to invite 25 of our Travel partners to come along and show case the ship. “Silversea sales in Ireland are going from strength to strength and in the last

S

six months we have shown over a 35pc increase on sales YOY. “We have had lots of interest in the smaller luxurious ships as guests now want to try something different and love our itinerates. The guests love the All inclusive life style, butler service and choice of restaurants onboard Picture shows Amanda Middler of Silversea and Martin Skelly, President of the ITAA.

bu Dhabi two-country tourism director for Ireland and Britain, Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni, and Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad hosted media at a function to showcase Abu Dhabi’s offerings. Abu Dhabi’s new airport is due to open in July 2017 and passengers can watch its development from the current terminal. In the meantime the emirate is grow-

A

ing its own tourist offerings. Visits from Ireland are up more than 30pc, more than the general increase of 17pc that Abu Dhabi recently reported. Attractions are concentrated on Sadayat Island and family offerings concentrated on Yas Island. Picture shows Pete Mathers of Abu Dhabi Tourism, Beatrice Cosgrove of Etihad and Nabeel Mahmoud Al Zarouni.

P

Teams from all over the world flew in to enjoy the Venetian hospitality and watch CEO John Boulding launch their newest product Luxury Gold (slogan: “the Art of Touring in Style”) as Insight firmly aligns itself in the premium and luxury escorted touring marketplace for 2016. The 200 page, glossy Insight 2016 catalogue was unveiled at the conference

icture shows Sharon Jordan and Caroline Calvert, Travel Corporation friends of Travel Extra from opposite side of the globe together in Venice. There they weare attending the Insight Vacations global sales and marketing conference held at the elegant Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa on Giudecca Island in Venice.


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 9

POSTCARDS FROM THE TRAVEL SCENE

emperatures reached a Majorcic 20 degrees at the Travel Fun Day 2015, the first year with complimentary access, Ice Cream and a BBQ for the 800 people who turned up on the day. Sharon Jordan 2015 Chair of the Travel Funday committee said the decision to make the day as inclusive as possible was a success. The venture raised €7,000 in raffle ticket sales and prior to

T

that up to €50,000 was gathered in sponsorship for Laura Lynn Foundation, Dogs Aid, Saving Dylan, Irish Autism Ireland, Enable Ireland and Our Ladies Hospice, Harold’s Cross. Picture shows Sunway, soccer team, runners-up at the event: Dermot Byrne, Shelly Osborne, Barry Hammond, Niall Sweeny.Front row: James Kenny, Holly Heffernan. Missing: James Fleming

he largest cruise ship ever to dock in Dublin Port when she arrived last May, Splendida reversed into position again this month, a few hours later than originally planned due to tidal restrictions. The decision to used Dublin was taken after the ship captain tried the reversing into position manoeuvre on a simulator after a visit to Cork. The ship was in Ireland as part of an

T

11-day itinerary out of Hamburg, and this month’s visits will be its last until May 2016. Dublin Port is working to bring in further business through a €200m redevelopment plan, which will allow larger ships to routinely visit the port, and mean ships like Splendida would no longer have to reverse into position Picture shows Rebecca Kelly of MSC with her splendida ship.

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Dorothy Dott Henggeler, the 2011 Rose who became well known through her role in Tourism Ireland before succumbing to cancer in 2013. Their vision for the festival: a rebranded Rose Hotel, a permanent dome to serve as a conference centre to be completed in 2018. Picture shows Boston Rose, Sarah Hogan, Louth rose Jenny Hanlon, and Perth Rose Denise Lynch take a selfie during the parade.

n ten years time it would be nice not to have to explain to anyone internationally what the Rose of Tralee is,” said Dick Henggeler as he surveyed the events of the Rose of Tralee festival last month. The Rose organisers are anxious to establish their festival on the international tourism calendar. Dick and Eibhlín (nee Moriarty, from Killarney, pictured) are the parents of

Early b ooking discou nts now availab le!


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 10

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SKI & SNOWBOARD 2015-16

ctober is traditionally the time when tour operators launch their new destinations and the rest of us start browsing websites to plan next season’s ski holiday. There are a number of key factors to consider when booking a winter holiday and here are our top picks for winter 2015/2016:

6

Catherine Murphy’s annual pick of the best places to ski, stay and play on the slopes this winter

Six of the piste

FOR BEGINNERS

*Pal-Arinsal, Vallnord, Andorra. Lovely easy slopes in Pal, great ski instruction, lively nightlife in Arinsal. * Westendorf, Ski Welt, Austria. Compact village that´s easy to move around, good variety of slopes for beginners and early intermediates. *Soll, also in the Ski Welt. Pretty village, treelined runs, good night life. *Pamporovo, Bulgaria. Rated as best ski instruction in Europe by one operator´s clients. Easy on the wallet. *Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Great scenery, cheap prices and Italian influences. *Niederau, Austria. A good option for beginner families, quiet and pretty.

6 INTERMEDIATES

*Kitzbuhel, Austria. Gorgeous resort, Englishspeaking instructors and the infamous Han-

66

Heading uphill for the season ahead

nenkahm to aspire to. *Zell Am See, Austria. Lovely views of the frozen lake, charming resort centre and bonus slopes on the glacier at Kaprun. *Sauze d´Oulx, Milky Way, Italy. Good prices in resort, very friendly and easy meet-up for skiers at Sportinia area on the mountain. *Morzine-Avoriaz, Portes du Soleil, France. Hundreds of kilometres of piste for keen intermediates who want to cover lots of terrain between France and Switzerland, charming resort centre in Morzine, good choice of restaurants on the mountain. *La Plagne, Paradiski, France. Massive ski area for energetic and ambitious intermediates. Take a chalet with friends or family for the best fun. *La Rosiere - La Thuile, France/Italy. La Rosiere in France is linked to La Thuile in Italy, both great areas for intermediates and La Rosiere has Famille Plus Montagne accreditation. *St Anton am Arlberg,

ADVANCED

Austria. Great off-piste and wicked apres-ski, the best of both worlds. *Val d´Isere-Tignes, Espace Killy, France. Extensive off-piste, challenging pistes like the famous ´Face´ and lots of French charm. *Chamonix, France. Mecca for serious skiers who enjoy steepslopes and ski touring. *Zermatt, Glitz, gastronomy and off-piste skiing on the Stockhorn. Serious prices too. *Verbier, Valais region, Switzerland. Easily accessible off-piste and fantastic high mountain routes. Not recommended for those on a budget. *Val Thorens, Three Valleys, France. Access to over 600km of piste, excellent off-piste and a buzzy vibe in Europe´s highest resort

THINGS TO TRY THIS SEASON

La Tyrolienne, Val Thorens, Les Trois Vallees. *Test your nerves on the highest zip wire in the world. Val Thorens in Les Trois Vallees is home to La Tyrolienne, a 1,300 metre long zip wire that flies you along at speeds of up to 105 kph, 250 metres above the ground. Situated in the Orelle sector, the ride of your life takes less than two minutes to complete and costs €50 per person. *Bun J Ride, Tignes, Espace Killy, France. The Bun J Ride is a kind of bungee jump situated above the Merles slope in Tignes. Skiers and boarders slide down a knee-knocking 30 metre ramp before dropping 35 metres into the void. It’s scary for those about to

do it and highly amusing for onlookers. Costs €65 per person. Velo bike, Le Grand Bornand, Lake Annecy Resorts, France. The brain-child of local man Serge Mermillod, we think every resort in the world should have the velo or ski bike. While there are other ski bikes out there, this design has a braking system which makes it safe and easy to learn, even for non-skiers. The Velo is a sit down bike with front and back skis in place of wheels. Take a lesson with ESF instructor Jean Francois Exertier who will have you zig zagging down blue slopes within an hour. An introductory lesson costs €38 or you can simply hire a bike for €25. Ski Joering, Aravis Passion, La Clusaz, Lake Annecy Resorts, France. The ancient Norwegian practice of skiing behind a horse can be practiced by all the family at Julien Fournier’s Aravis Passion equestrian centre. Even novice skiers can try this as you just need to be able to stand parallel on short

skis and hold on to a frame that’s attached to the horse. For an introductory session (€28), Julien takes the reins and controls the horse; all you have to do is hold on and stay vertical. It’s a lovely activity to try when there’s plenty of snow. Ice driving, Flaine, France. What could be more fun than driving on an icy circuit at 120kmh?! Okay, we’ll tell you – being driven on an icy circuit at 120kmh by a professional driver… at night! The Circuit de Glace in Flaine is the place, Eric Carton is the driver and the Subaru is your mode of transport. Eric performs some hair-raising moves on the ice but is super calm, professional and trustworthy. For extra laughs, take a few friends along for the ride (€50). For a more serious session, learn to drive on ice yourself (€180). Trail running, Les Deux Alpes, France. This is one for the seriously fit and adventurous. The Snow Trail, which takes place in Les Deux


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SKI & SNOWBOARD 2015-16 Alpes in late January, features 10km, 15km and 20km races in the mountains at night. All three races start with a 300m ascent and continue above the resort, often in freezing snowy conditions that make most of us shudder to even think about. Bring a head torch and snow grips! Bonus activity; Piste basher driving in La Plagne. Go on, you know you want to.

6 OFF PISTE

Courmayeur, valley, Italy.

Aosta

Come in the water’s nice When Chamonix locals make a bee-line for nearby Courmayeur on powder days, you know it has something special to offer. The main attractions are less crowded slopes (so the powder lasts longer) and lovely tree-lined powder runs. This season, there’s an even greater attraction

with the opening of the new Sky Way Mont Blanc cable car which cost €110million, took three years to construct, has two rotating cabins and will whisk skiers up towards the famous Vallee Blanche in veritable James Bond style. La Grave, France. This ski village repre-

sents the pinnacle of offpiste skiing with routes on La Meije that turn even the hardest Nordic skiers into whimpering babies. The Skier’s Lodge can cater for less experienced off-piste groups but to get the most from this unique mountain, you need to be at the top of your game. Expect steep

couloirs, big vertical drops and don’t forget to bring crampons, harness and ski mountaineering skills. Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt may have glitz, gastronomy and more expensive watch shops than any one place could possibly need but it also has some seriously

good off-piste skiing. Head for the Stockhorn area, take in the Findgletscher or ski the Schwarztor, a glacier route that experienced off-piste and touring fans will adore. If you can take your eyes off the Matterhorn, you will also get to admire the numerous 4,000 metre peaks in the area. One possible downside is the €410 price tag for a six day lift pass but in this instance, we think you really do get what you pay for. La Thuile, Aosta Valley, Italy. Scary drop-ins and steep icy couloirs are all well and good but this year we’ve also chosen some areas that are suitable for novice or intermediate off-piste skiers. La Thuile, which is linked with the French resort of La Rosiere, is a good option as it offers

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moderately pitched routes which will bring confidence to those coming to grips with off-piste technique and safety. Many of the area’s slopes are also north-facing which means they hold onto that lovely powder for longer. And lest we forget, it’s in Italy so you can go heli-skiing for reasonable prices. Head for the north side of Chaz Dura (from the Chaz Dura express chair) which begins with steep, craggy high mountain terrain, leads into pine forests then more moderate terrain before finishing at Col du Petit Bernard. The Belvedere-Piccolo San Bernardo area also offers easily accessible off-piste options. Go heli-skiing at Monte Miravidi (3,058m) and ski the majestic Rutor glacier. Sport Gastein, Gastein Valley, Austria. To ski off-piste in Sport Gastein is to venture into old gold mining territory. Hire a guide and ask them to take you to the ‘Highway to Hell’ or to the Kreuzkogel –Nord route. There are lots of day touring options in the area but for intermediate off-piste skiers there are also wide open routes with the Hohe Tauern mountain range as a backdrop. Sport Gastein also has a free avalanche training area and free ride safety information on display. Suitable for advanced skiers holidaying with mixed level groups. Arcalis, Vallnord, Andorra. Arcalis is the smallest of Vallnord’s three ski areas (the other two being Pal and Arinsal). In terms of pistes, Arcalis has less than 30km but look around and you will see a wealth of free ride opportunities. It even looks more alpine than the rest of Andorra. Last winter this little ski resort became a stop on the Freeride World Tour and will feature on

the FWT for the next two seasons. Arcalis attracts French skiers for its heli-skiing (approx €200 for two drops) and when plans for improved services come to fruition, it could prove to be a hidden free ride gem, much like Alagna in Italy. Arcalis is situated in a narrow mountain valley with little or no scope for terrain expansion so it will retain its remote atmosphere. Bonus off-piste destinations; Alagna, Italy. St Anton, Austria. Chamonix, France.

6 CITY & SKI

*Sierra Nevada – Granada, Spain. Enjoy the intermediate slopes, Flamenco bars and four star spa hotels of Sierra Nevada then stop off in Granada for a few days to play golf, soak up the city's romantic atmosphere and visit the Alhambra. A major plus to visiting the Alhambra during winter is that there are far fewer people. *Alta Badia/Dolomites – Venice, Italy. Ski the Sella Ronda circuit, soak up the stupefying scenery of the Dolomites and sample the region's fine cuisine before stopping off in Venice for a totally different experience. If you're travelling in Spring, take in a tour of the Prosecco wine region, which you pass through on the way. *Lake Tahoe – San Francisco, USA. They call this road trip the 'city, ski, sip' tour. Spend a few days in San Francisco, take in a couple of wine tours in Sonoma county or Napa Valley, then drive to Lake Tahoe where you can ski various resorts including Heavenly, Alpine Meadows and Squaw

Valley. Lake Tahoe straddles the California – Nevada state line so you can choose to stay in either. *Bad Gastein – Salzburg, Austria. Enjoy the ski terrain and renowned thermal baths of the Gastein valley before making the one hour trip to Salzburg for a Sound of Music tour, Mozart evening or just to soak up the atmosphere of this lovely town. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sound of Music so it’s a good year for fans to visit. Stop off at the McArthur Glen Outlet shopping centre en-route to the airport – it’s literally a ten minute walk to the terminal. *St Anton – Innsbruck, Austria. Cosmopolitan St Anton has its own train station, which means the Orient Express passes through. It also means that on days that you don't want to ski, you can take the train to Innsbruck. Visit the Christmas markets in December for unusual gifts. St Anton is home to some of the best off-piste terrain so you may not be able to drag yourself away. *Alta/Snowbird – Salt Lake City. Book into the Alta Peruvian Lodge, enjoy the local ski scene, terrain that's suitable for all levels and an oldschool resort that doesn't allow snowboarding. Boarders have to hang out in nearby Snowbird instead. Alta is just a 40 minute drive from SLC where a visit to the Mormon tabernacle and a tasting of the local Polygamy beer (we kid you not) are must-dos. Bonus city ski break; Geneva and Le Grand Bornand, a 50 minute journey.

6 FOR GROUPS

Danger: Inviting mountain terrain

*Pas de la Casa, Grandvalira, Andorra. They don't call it the Ibiza of the slopes for nothing. Younger groups who want to party will enjoy Pas de la Casa's bar offerings, by which we mean plenty of free shots. For those who still have the energy to ski, Pas de la Casa is part of the 200km Grandvalira ski area. *Mayrhofen, Austria. Not only does it have the Van Penkens snow park one of the best in the world with six different areas for different levels it also hosts two major festivals, the Altitude comedy festival and the Snowbombing music festival. With its traditional rustic Tyrolean ambience, Mayrhofen also attracts families. One downside is that have to take a cable car to reach the ski areas. *Sauze D'Oulx, Italy. Part of the Milky Way ski area that takes in Sestriere and Claviere, we rate Sauze as a group destination because its runs meet up at the Sportinia area – perfect for lunch meetings among groups of different abilities. Prices are reasonable and the resort is also known for its lively nightlife. *Soll, Ski Welt, Austria. Soll is one of those resorts that appeals to both apres-ski fans and

families alike so is a good bet for mixed groups. It's also the gateway to the 279km Ski Welt which takes skiers to Brixen, Ellmau, Scheffau and Westendorf. Resorts in this area are relatively low so snow-making facilities are excellent. *Val Thorens, Les Trois Vallees, France. Val Thorens offers vast terrain for ambitious intermediates, lots of off-piste options for advanced skiers and a central beginner's area where novices ski for free before progressing to buy a halfprice lift pass - so there's something for everyone. Also a hot spot for younger groups. *Kirchberg, Austria. Just 6km from glitzy Kitzbuhel, Kirchberg has hosted the Ian Dempsey Today FM ski trip a number of times and knows how to cater for groups of all sizes. Set in the heart of the Kitzuhelerhorn, it offers skiers access to Kitzbuhel's 170km of slopes on one side and the Ski Welt's 280km on the other. Nightlife is young and lively. Bonus group destination; Alpe d’Huez, France, where Les Bruyeres chalet can cater for over 30 people.

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FOR ADAPTIVE SKI

For members of your holiday group who use a wheelchair, are visually impaired or have an intellectual disability, lots of resorts offer adaptive ski services to get them out onto the slopes - whether it’s learning to ski or getting someone to drive them down the mountain in a 'ski-taxi'. *St Johann in Tirol, Austria. Instructors at the Wilder Kaiser ski school have lots of experience working with visually impaired skiers from the Ski Club of Ireland over the years, making St Johann our number one spot for visually impaired skiers. *Alpe d'Huez, France. It's very common to see ski taxis whizzing around the mountains in this resort. Visitors with paraplegia learn to ski using a kind of ski seat with a single ski underneath and mini hand-held skis on either side for balance. Alternatively, the ski taxi option means they are driven down the mountain by a guide.


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FOR  FAMILIES

nand and Manigod. In terms of access, you won’t find easier than this area with Geneva just a 50 minute drive from St Jean Sixt. With its four-hundredyear-old chalets, medieval Le Grand Bo is ideal for young families

with a traditional feel, weekly market and as many bovine as human inhabitants (2,000 of each!). Manigod offers easy family-friendly skiing while La Clusaz now has a freeride school for children which teaches kids from as young as six

about the techniques and safety rules of off-piste skiing. Bonus family resorts; Avoriaz, France. Westendorf, Ski Welt, Austria. Saint Lary, French Pyrenees. Grandvalira, Andorra.

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get onto skis and find their balance. If that´s not family friendly, we don´t know what is! A good bet for families with far more reasonable prices than countries like Switzerland and France. Champoluc, Italy. The lovely resort of Champoluc in the Aosta valley is linked to nearby Gressoney and Alagna and is a good mid-market option. Nestled beneath the Monte Rosa peak, it's also very pretty, which proves that you don't have to tolerate ugly purpose-built resorts to get value for money. Bormio and Cervinia are other good value Italian options. La Rosiere, France. Linked to La Thuile in Italy, La Rosiere boasts the ‘Famille Plus Montagne’ label which means it’s great at catering for families. Stay in La Rosiere itself or in the little satellite area of Les Eucherts, where many chalets are located within easy reach of the lift. La Rosiere also offers four free lifts for beginners and a junior academy while children will enjoy a visit to see the village’s St Bernard dogs. As your skiing level improves, take the drag lift to La Thuile for hot chocolate, tasty pasta and Bombardinos. Lake Annecy Resorts, France. Lake Annecy resorts consist of St Jean Sixt, La Clusaz, Le Grand Bor-

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La Massana, Vallnord, Andorra. Our top bet for family group holidays. Check into the Magic Ski hotel which boasts a great buffet dinner, is just 50 metres from the lift station and bustles with the noise of Spanish families. La Massana is the base for Vallnord’s ski areas – Pal which is idea for beginners and early intermediates, Arinsal which

has more to offer intermediate skiers and Arcalis which has a mix of easy pistes for intermediates and off-piste for experienced skiers in the family. Prices are reasonable – around €1.50 for a beer in local La Massana bars – while on the mountain, Vallnord’s restaurants and bars are becoming much more fashionable. Flaine, Grand Massif, France. While the ‘60s Bauhaus-inspired architecture of Flaine central might not appeal to lovers of traditional family resorts, Pierre et Vacance’s brand new Les Terrasses d’Helios is an ideal spot for families to stay. Set above the main resort, this P&V property offers contemporary apartments with dining, bar options, a shop and ski hire within the complex. It’s extremely convenient for families – walk out of the ski room straight onto snow. The complex is also very easy to find on the way home after a day’s skiing. For a more traditional French resort feel, opt for nearby Les Carroz, also part of the Grand Massif ski area. Scheffau, Ski Welt, Austria. This little village is linked to the 279km Ski Welt. Scheffau´s ski school director has invented a unique ski boot that allows toddlers as young as 14 months to

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Hands, feet and bumps a daisy

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*Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. One of our favourite Colorado resorts, the old mining town of Breckenridge has a long-established adaptive outdoor recreational centre and would be one of our first choices for adaptive skiing. *Loon, New Hampshire, USA. If they can think of a way of getting you onto the mountain, they will. Instructors here will adapt systems to enable people with all types of disabilities to get on the slopes. Some staff members have disabilities themselves so they know what they're talking about. *Kirchberg, Austria. A special mention goes to Hotel Brauwirt where owner Gidi Koidl has adapted all rooms and facilities for disabled guests and welcomes disabled groups. *Klosters, Switzerland. For the last number of years, Klosters has been working with injured UK soldiers to get them out on the mountain so again, it knows how to cater for guests with disabilities. Bonus adaptive ski destination; La Plagne, Paradiski, France.

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FOR LUXURY

Chalet Pelerin, Eleven Experience, Le Miroir, France. Nestled above Sainte Foy (near Val d’isere) in the tiny mountain village of Le Miroir, chalet Pelerin offers laid back luxury in a dreamy rustic setting. American company Eleven Experience has set about replicating the success of its Crested Butte property here and along with gorgeous accommodation, it offers clients guided off-piste ski safaris that take in Tignes, La Thuile and Alpe d’Huez. Expect custom-made skis, heli-skiing, fine-dining and lots of extra touches. Make sure your bank balance is very healthy before checking in. Koh i Nor, Val Thorens, France. It’s impossible to talk about four or five star hotels this season without mentioning Val Thorens. Better known as a mecca for young off-piste skiers and party animals, Val Tho has developed an impressive range of high level hotels, including the

five star Fitzroy (right on the slopes), the new five star Pashmina, the ultrafashionable Altapura and the Koh I Nor. We should also mention Club Med’s new property in the centre of the resort, complete with foyer climbing wall. We love them all to be honest but have chosen the Koh i Nor for its wrap-around terrace, classic style and quite simply, the most luxurious ski room we’ve ever seen! Alpen Royal, Zermatt. Zermatt has lots of luxury properties to choose from but we’ve chosen the three star Alpen Royal, a traditional alpine-style family hotel, because it offers affordable access to one of Europe’s most glamorous resorts. Set above the resort, some of the bedrooms in

this simple hotel offer incredible views of the Matterhorn – we couldn’t believe our luck when we looked out our bedroom window and realized we had a bird’s eye view. The hotel is connected to the resort via a clever lift and tunnel system thought up by the owners. Hotel Rosa Alpina, Dolomites, Italy. We love staying in the gorgeous mountain huts of the Dolomites but the five star Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano is a good starting point on any trip to this part of Italy. Home to the Michelin starred St Hubertus restaurant, it has had guests such as Blur’s Alex James to stay. If it’s good enough for him………… Albert Hameau 1er, Chamonix, France. The five star Albert Hameau is a family-

owned property that’s home to a Michelin star restaurant. Situated five minutes from the centre of town, it also boasts a number of charming Alpages that guests can choose to stay in – definitely on our bucket list for coming seasons. The hotel is also home to the Maison Carrier restaurant which offers a set menu for around 30 euro, boasts a dessert buffet and has an impressive chimney for smoking and cooking meats. We don’t like, we love. Along with Zermatt and Courmayeur, Chamonix is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the golden age of Alpinism in 2015 and has special packages on offer to mark it. The Hermitage, Soldeu, Andorra. This is one that we

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can’t forget – boutique style, amazing spa area, right next to a lift – ticks all the boxes in our fantasy hotel list. Bonus luxury destination; it has to be the Kulm hotel in St Moritz.

CHALENGES

Tortin, Verbier, Valais region, Switzerland. You need a parachute to get off the steep moguls at the top of this marvellously long field of bumps. Definitely not for the faint-hearted but Tortin is a great run for practising mogul tech-

nique and improving your ski fitness. Trifide, La Grave, France. Get kitted up with a harness, helmet and take a local guide to negotiate this tough couloir. Mistakes are strictly out of the question here and most guides steer clear in icy conditions. Grown Scandinavian men have been known to turn back from the tricky entry point, weeping for their mamas. The Tunnel, Alpe d’Huez, France. You hear them in the cable car queue, groups of skiers discussing whether they’ll attempt to ski the infamous Tunnel run. Many opt out and do the easier Sarenne run but for those who check the Tunnel out on the ride up and decide to go for it, the reward is a tricky entry into steep moguls. Like most of these runs, the level of difficulty depends on whether conditions are icy or not. Baldy Chutes, Alta, Utah, NA. Lovely steep chutes, as the name implies. Only opens in the right weather conditions so it is possible to spend a whole holiday in Alta and not get to ski it. That doesn’t stop you from dropping the name into conversations and pretending.... Corbett's couloir, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, North America. Another tricky entry point keeps most mere mortals away from this difficult couloir. Highland bowls, Aspen, Colorado. Okay so it's at least a 30 minute hike to the top or longer if you're unfit but there are various drop-in points and a variety of excellent powder bowls to ski. You're more than likely to hear Chris Davenport, famous for skiing all of Colorado's 14,000 ft peaks in a year, hollering with enjoyment on this long off-piste run. Bonus tough run; The Swiss Wall in Avoriaz, Portes du Soleil, France. More knee-busting moguls.


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FOR SCENERY

Dolomites, Italy. The jagged rock formations set this area apart from the Alps. You simply cannot beat the amazing scenery that you'll soak in as you ski the Sella Ronda circuit. Stay in Selva/Val Gardena or San Cassiano. Wengen/Grindelwald, Jungfrau, Switzerland. Home to the imposing Eiger and conversely, some of the prettiest chocolate box Swiss scenery imaginable. It’ also home to Europe's highest railway. Verbier, Switzerland. The panoramic view from the top of the jumbo cable car at 3,300 metres is unbeatable, taking in Mont Blanc and many other impressive peaks. Even if you're not going to ski down the challenging runs from here, take the cable car up to soak up the views. Courmayeur, Italy. Bella, bella. Even strolling along the pretty cobblestoned streets of classy Courmayeur, you can admire the imposing

mountain scenery. Go in March for sunny days, al fresco dining on the mountain and deep sun tans. Chamonix, France. Nothing can compare to the incredible formations of the Glace du Mer as you ski the glacier from the top of the Grand Montets cable car. If your skiing isn't quite at that level, another way to be stunned by the wonder of Mont Blanc is to base yourself in Megeve and take a flight in a light aircraft, it's absolutely worthwhile. Alpe d´Huez, France. Watch out for the ´mer du nuage´or sea of cloud that´s visible on certain days and seems to stretch all the way to Geneva. Bonus for scenery; Val d’Isere, France.

6 FOR FOOD

Chez Marie, Le Miroir, France. Huge chunks of meat straight from the grill in a gorgeous rustic setting. Confins des Sens, Le Grand Bornand, France. Sublime dining and accessible to all with children welcome. The Casino, Kitzbuhel, Austria. The food was so good that we didn’t bother gambling. Also boasts a lovely cellar that’s perfect for private groups.

Angerer Alm, St Johann, Austria. Great traditional food with a modern twist, sommelier, private cellar for special occasions, one of our favourites in the Alps. Les Ecureuils, La Clusaz, France. Truffle pizza, trout smoked at the table, tasting menu with specially chosen wines, magnifique! Chez Pepe, Les Menuires, France. You have to drive or ski offpiste to reach this gem. Never mind the good food, this place has serious rustic style – hayfilled cushions, hanging milk bottles for lighting, art made from cow dung. Bonus eateries; La Fruitiere, Alpe d’Huez; excellent food in a gorgeous setting. Adler Hitta, Zermatt; incredible Mat-

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terhorn views and whole roast chickens for lunch. For budget eats on the mountain our favourites are Clotze bar in La Thuile and l’Hermine in Auris (Alpe d’huez) France.

FOR SPAS

Caldea spa, Andorra la Vella, Andorra. Check out the new adult-only Inuu spa with rooftop lagoon, we loved it. Alpentherme, Bad Hofgastein, Austria; in-

door and outdoor swimming pools; family area with water slides; outdoor saunas. One of the best things about the Alpentherme in sleepy Bad Hofgastein is that it’s linked by corridors to a number of hotels including the four star Norica. Schloss Lebenberg, Kitzbuhel, Austria. Rooftop swimming pools with views over the valley, say no more. Riffleberg resort, Zermatt, Switzerland; The sauna has some of the best views we’ve ever seen. Chamonix one. Hermitage, Soldeu, Andorra. We said it before, we’ll say it again. We dream about those jacuzzis lined up in a spectacular row and those views of the mountain.


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DESTINATION FRANCE

t is a good measure of a resort that, when you compare the recommendations of the people you meet there, they seldom concur. Everyone seems to have different favourites in Val d’Isère. The best runs, the pick of the 92 restaurants and bars, of the four night clubs, the 13 delis and food stores, and the 50 sports shops and boutiques. Storied Val d’Isère sits like a three sided star in the intersection between three ancient valley courses. The contours, long and narrow with steep sides, means everything is close to the main street and nowhere is more than ten minutes walk on the flat valley floor. Everything happens between two roundabouts with the tourist office at one and supermarket at the other. Its most famous slope, the 1992 Olympic venue, Le Face, looks down with a bemused raised rocky eyebrow upon on the snow front of Val d’Isère village, the Rond Point. That slope alone offers the most compelling reason to ski this resort. For every parent, the experience of skiing Le Face the first time together with your children is as rich an experience as you could hope to take into your later years.

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now is one of those holidays that you have to have been there to understand. The photographs and videos we love to load in to our smart phones do not do it justice, no matter who often we whip them out to display on

Eoghan Corry goes all Alpie over Val d’Isère

Val of Desire Icicles at the Olympique

our return to the nonwhite world. The smell of the mountain, the cold air in your face, and the shadows, always the shadows as soon as the sun peeps through, don't translate into instagram so it is probably not even worth the effort. Snow doesn’t speak instagram, so experience the real thing. There are seemingly endless options. A highly rated downhill run from the top of the funicular down to La Daille offers seriously fast turns, while the Solaise express offers access to sun-drenched and wide open piste. The Couloir des Pisteurs is accessed via a 20minute hike, it features a tight width entrance into a skinny, well packed couloir protected from the wind. Check out Léo Taillefer’s run through it on Youtube.

WHAT’S HOT

■ Lots of ski options, with slopes facing different directions ■ The famous night (and afternoon) life of Val d’Isère ■ Huge range of activities for the nonskier and non-ski days ■ The height of the resort makes it reasonably snow-sure ■ Family friendly esp for teenagers

When the light is flat there is lots of fun to be had in Le Fornet through the trees; simply grab the free bus to the cable car and explore the forest right below the lift, keep an eye out for avalanche warnings and watch for the occasional cliff that is too big to drop. There is also an amazing run through a hidden valley canyon to the bottom of La Daille to the skier's left of the Semanmille Lift, but go early, before the narrow gully turns to ice.

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hile the weather will not always perform, the scenery usually does. Even in a white-out (or, more likely, a grey-out), there is a sense that there is something beautiful lurking out there playing hide and seek in a playful way,

WHAT’S NOT

■ Transfer is longish at two and a half hours from Chambery and vulnerable to weather and rock slides ■ The expense, particularly for those eating on the mountain. ■ Lifts that have seen better days. ■ Did we mention the expense? €300 for a family lunch for four in La Fruitiere beside La Folie Douce.

waiting to be discovered. The struggle to see the poles that mark the edge of the piste becomes part of the adventure. When you look for poetry it is not just in the classic high mountains that you find it. On the Fornet side of the mountain I always seem to find a different microclimate. The sense of expectation and anticipation riding the Leissieres lift over the ridge is always enhanced by that ever changing view. That scenery beyond the mountain never turns out quite the same as did yesterday or even three hours ago. And then occasionally a biting wind that sweeps your nose and most of your dignity away. A surprisingly few number of iPhones are lost when they get whipped out to video the passage over the jagged edge mountain ridge from the Leissieres Express chairlift: the pisteurs say three in the last season. The little flattop Dome de Pramecou beside le Grande Motte as if somebody had set up for a pic-

nic. The famous Aiguille Percee beloved of artists and illustrators since the days of woodcuts and dusty tomes before Val d’Isère there became famous. Or the table cloth of the Cascade glacier shoving snow through a valley like a prop forward as if unsure what to do next, global warming having sentenced its sporting career to an 80 year disappearing trick. What will the poor skier do then?

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rystal, winners of the ski category in the Irish travel industry awards, were our hosts in Val d’Isère. We stopped by to sample the Chalet experience in Chalet Balias. Crystal brings 1,000 skiers a week to the area, including a Saturday 737300 charter from Dublin to Chambery. The transfer is two and a half hours, weather permitting and the tour operator has five reps in place in Val d’Isère and 11 in Tignes. It offers six chalets in the resort of varying size, from those accommodating 41 down to groups of

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ten. The chalet experience is in stark contrast to what you encounter in a hotel.

ur chalet elf, Josh Wa i n w r i g h t greeted us on our late arrival in heaped snow, bearded and messianic in the white-fluffed darkness. He served hot porridge and cooked omelettes without complaint for breakfast and produced a set menu dish every night: Salmon en croute green beans pesto, Roast shank braised in brown sugar red wine with cabbage rosemary potatoes, pâte with red onion jam and a sweet pickled cucumber, catering for sixyear-old Flora as dexterously as the fussiest holidaymaker you could anticipate through ski season. Our group was intriguing and eclectic, two families with had four of the sweetest, politest children and young adults I have ever broken bread with, and a couple from Yorkshire who defied the stereotype of boarders that they are self-obsessed and, often, well,

■ Eoghan Corry travelled to Val d’Isère as a guest of Crystal Holidays and stayed at Chalet Balias, five minutes walk from the ski lifts.€1318 pps off peak


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OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 17 bored-ers. Issues of international importance were laid to rest on the first night and the happy prospect of more activity after breakfast the following day kept the mind and conversation as agile as virgin snow. We shared our stories of the mountain every day over a glass or two of Chemin des Pins merlot topped off with Portillo Porto in the soft chairs. Here the family random sat down every night and discussed their adventures of the day, the achievements, the hilarities, the dropped ski pole, the helmet that fell off the skis, instructors and exams, the ommitted sunblock that meant your correspondent could be mistaken for a tomato after two days skiing, and the little nuances de neige that would otherwise go unremarked.

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al d’Isère has an air of history and stability about it, important for those who value such things when the French Alps were invaded by custom-built 1960s steel and concrete resorts. “You don’t fine any other villages at 1850 metres,” Kerstin Grandclaudon of the tourist office says.”60pc of the resort is higher than 2,200metres.” These Alpine resorts around the Swiss and Italian borders have all of

DESTINATION FRANCE

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Val d’Isère has two well-signed “Ski Tranquille” areas up high that are suitable for beginners, who can then get the lifts back down at the end of the day.

these things. What Val d’Isère has is class. Not the glitzy chic of Madonna de Campiglio, or the over priced grandeur of Zermatt. Class and convenience, because, unlike Verbier, you do not have to travel for kilometres to reach the slopes. My first visit to Val d’Isère was as a novice skier with the family in 2002 and I was hooked. Val d’Isère’s little village houses and hotels in traditional stone and wood architecture offer just 15,000 tourist beds, while ready poured neighbour Tignes has 31,000.

hile Tignes has styled itself for the young and sporty, Val is chasing the pampered. When Yule opens for next season Val will have six five star hotels and 13 spas. It also offers a small museum based in a 1664 house, the oldest in town, that opens between 5 and 7 each day, and a cinema. Both Val d’Isère and Tignes are incentivising private chalet owners in an attempt to release (cold beds, ie unoccupied beds) to the market, extra tourist beds. Airbnb may be about to do that for them. They can get 50,000 people on to the moun-

tains overhead and scatter them quickly on to distance slopes in Espace Killy’s 300km of ski runs, as well as access to some of the highest rated offpiste in the Alps. There are 24 groomed slopes for beginners, 19 intermediate and 12 advanced, but bear in mind many of them hilariously mislabeled by someone who has a sense of humour. The area has 45 chairlifts, 24 draglifts, two funiculars, four cable cars, four gondolas and some parks and pipes were added in recent year. There is an option to upgrade to off piste for €2.80 a day. Private lesson cost €55 an hour .

Excursions include paragliding (€85), heli tours (€39), speed riding (€90), ice diving (€85), a bungee swing (€50), quads and buggies (€30), ice driving (€60), ice climbing (€93), and dog sledding (€85).

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ythology is important in these mountains and few places in the Alps come with as accomplished a mythology as Val d’Isère. Val’s ski mythology, largely conjured up by Charles Diebot, a Parisien who set up the village's first ski school in 1932 and reinforced by the Olympic exploits of Jean

Claude Killy, has become as iconic a part of the culture as when Hannibal marched his elephant over the pass. The nephew of Jean Claude Killy, Dimitri Killy runs the Killy sports rental shop beside the tourist office. Dmitri, burdened with the most famous name in ski, avoided competition through his teens. He told us he is proud of his Irish heritage: great great great grand daddy left Tipperary to fight for Napoleon. Val got its ski reputation and its infrastructure early, its first champion in 1904 and its first lift in 1932. It replenished both early. It seems happy to sit on both. The six-seat Fountaine Froide chair relieved pressure, transporting up to 3000 skiers per hour at peak times, and Tignes opened the €15m Telecabin de Toviere last year. The long overdue replacement for the Vanoise Express will not be ready until 2016-17.

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n the meantime there are ways to avoid the crowds and the queues. Instead of taking the Olympique head fro the Bellvarde next door and ski across to the Loyes Express, it gets you go the same place with the advantage of a guaranteed seat. Take the bus to Le Fornet and the gondola to the

Clockwise: Bungee ski, 60pc of the resort is higher than 2,200m, Tignes gondola, spring sunshine, Dimitri Killy with Eoghan Corry


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DESTINATION FRANCE wide sun soaked blues above before everyone else has skied over from Val d’Isère. To avoid the ski school queue at Toviere and Palafour gondolas in le Lac de Tignes, head over by bus to nearby Lavachet and use the less popular Paquis of Chaudannes lifts. Try the Paquis chairlift instead of the Toviere bubble to get from Tignes to Val d’Isère, ski down Crocus to the Combe Folle drag lift, then down the Violettes blue slope into the valley. The subway train funicular to the Grande Motte is one of the great experiences of the stop and is usually not crowded.

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isten, too, to the sounds of the infrastructure rather than bucolic bliss conjured up by the brochures. Much of your ski day will be on spent on lifts, listening to the hum and the rattle of metal recognised, with your eyes trained below for following gloves and deer tracks. Each pylon of the chairlift growls like a dog as you pass. And then the casual uncertainty when it stops. What crisis has caused this pause? How long? Then, with a jerk, it starts again. The lifts perform too, even if they don’t always

The height of Espace Killy brings some fascinating cloud formations

behave. They come with moods and peculiarities of their own. District Justices have dealt with cases that have involved less vicious grievous premeditated assaults than some of the ski lifts of Espace Killy: like Datcha and Grand Pre. While we were there two people were helicoptered off the mountain, not from an encounter with the vicissitudes of an unforgiving piste, but because they had an encounter with the notoriously bad-tempered and fast moving ski lift. They come in various speeds, sizes, designs and vintages, some of the

older ones Prone to stopping and leaving you bobbing in space on a steel backed chair. You get the sense as you approach each one that there is a surprise in store. You can never tell the speed of the next one.

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omething similar applies to the après ski, which, if you were to believe the Savoiardes, was invented here. The first après ski bar opened in the 1930s and by the 1960s Grande Ourse had established itself as the original of the

species. Restaurants on the mountain are pricey, but over on the Le Fornet side the Cascade restaurant has menus for less than €10 and La Sana in the snow square opposite ESF is good value. The après is getting earlier. La Folie Douce is rightly famed for its afternoon session, a cabaret of the hillsides, Johnny Fox’s with snow. You know a show is successful when they charge €2 to look after the skies outside. You can eat expensively at La Fruitiere (consommé a la truffe €22, Entrecote €30) or

drink expensively at the La Folie Douce (kir €6, hot chocolate €5). Table conversation is impossible. Communication has to be reduced to sign language. Passers-by stop at the top of the mountain to listen to the noise and speculate what the five o’clock ski down will be like after such unrestrained imbibing. The echoes of the call of cabaret leader Kelly Star (another man who told us he is proud of his Irish heritage) are you ready to party could be heard all the way to the top of the Mont Blanc lift. The silence of the mountain, indeed.

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eople here ARE ready to party. Coco Ricco is also engaged in early après, entertainment here is becoming as much pendant as après, and has a sister nightclub Doudoune that only kicks into life when darkness has descended and the pisteurs have taken to the mountain. Latest of all is Dick’s T-bar, which opens at 11 and its sister nightclub The Bunker that opens at 3 PM and bounces along until 9am. It is important that a travel writer should research such things properly and for €10 the

Clockwise: The oldest house in Val d’Isère dates to 1664 and has entry doors at different snow levels, Champagne bottles at La Folie Douce, chairlift above Tignes and the green and blue slopes at the top of Olympique which are a favourite with beginner skiers


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DESTINATION FRANCE valiant Crystal reps Megan Watkins and Cameron Brereton offer to do this for all their guests. The tour starts in the Fall Line (demi and a shot €3), progresses to Café Face (beer/wine and a shot €2,80), Saloon had a dive bar theme (pitcher €15, spirit and a mixer €5, beer €5), on to atmospheric and unpretentious wooden-floored Victors (two beers €7, free shot), to the very noisy and crowded Petit Danois (free shot) and a big finish in the smooth and jazzy Dick’s Tea Bar (free shot). By then the drinking games had been won and lost, the victors and the defeated indistinguishable in their happiness. The mingling, such an essential part of any ski holiday, had begun in earnest. Most night life are closely packed in the small streets around the snow front and the Church of St Bernard of the Alps and the market places, with a few in the trefoil parallel roads and the modern suburbs, Everywhere is accessible, not because everything is walking distance, but because the train rouge offers a ready conveyance from one end of the town and its communities to the other.

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al d’Isère can be a little bit too English for Irish

Skiers at far famed La Folie Douce

tastes and probably not French enough, but scratch the surface and you find the accumulated French family traditional guests that for generations have been coming here to ply these slopes. Good-humoured French waiters and cafe owners display a welcoming smile my when they have established that the Irlandaise are in town. Our hostess at café St Jacques waltzed through the tables when I sang Bourvil’s Ballade Irlandaise. That was fondue night, an important part of every trip to Val. Death by cheese is the phrase that gets used on these occasions. The racklette comes in a variety of dishes of various providence, The changes here are

less dramatic than at other resorts, and inconsequential to the mood and feel of the place. There are fewer Russians with the collapse of the ruble. Crepe Val’s where he had our fondue in 2003 is still serving the best and looks more or less they . Le Lodge, recommended since the days when guidebooks were the only source of information a holiday planner could access, still looks the same although a trendy bar has been added alongside.

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he bars of Val d’Isère might usefully be rated in colour codes like the pistes. Black for the ones that offer the most dan-

ger, the steepest incline and the greater sense of elation when the motions are whipped up to high speed, full of messy moghuls and lines of sight, with sudden inclines that will defy even the most practiced drinker. On this imaginary getpiste map, the bars can even change colour code in the course of an evening. Bars where it is clear everyone is destined to fall over, at some stage in proceedings. Bars that are just waiting for the temperature or the wind to come from the right direction to make them perfect, but nobody expects that to happen anytime’s soon. Bars that have gotten a little too much heat and have got soft and slushy

prone to melting into little puddles of tears with every passing cloud before your eyes as the night goes on. Bars that are hopelessly narrow and way too overcrowded, the inadequate throughway blocked by small clusters of the clueless, with a collective loss of sense of direction that propels everyone downhill with alarming differences in speed and velocity, always with a sense this is not going to end well. Bars teeming with the swaggering youths who always seem to know the way while the rest of us potter away aimlessly or boy racers racing down the edge blissful in the knowledge that their actions will never have any negative consequences. Bars with interesting

animal tracks (is that a mouton or a chamois?). Bars overlaid with the artificial stuff, which we all know does not compare with the real thing. Bars that don’t yet have a grade four avalanche warning but you know they will probably need it at the end of the night. Bars where you can tell at an instance that the white powder is not going to be of good quality or enough of it to go around. And the iciest of all, the battle hardened, devoid of emotion or real feeling, so stiff that even a stern, vigorous and aggressive stab of a ski pole right in the middle of the face will be needed to make an impression. And that was just the bar lady.

Clockwise: Folie Douce, Josh Wainwright and Megan Watkins of Crystal, La Vanoise lift, Olympique gondola, Kerstin Grandclaudon and Eoghan Corry


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DESTINATION AUSTRIA

hen the snow came, it made up for lost time. The warmest early winter in the memory of Europe’s ski resorts came to an abrupt end just before new year. Most resorts across the Alps now have all lifts open. In Kirchberg thy say that when it is about to snow the sheep move up the mountain because they know something. And the deer move down because they know something too, When I visited the sheep were still in the valley. Like sheep fleece or layers of cotton wool the fog, too, sat in the valley in the morning, luxuriant deep-carpetted mountain beauty that was as surprising as the underperformance of the snow conditions. Two worlds, one below and one above. Austria’s advantage is that skiers stay in real villages before they take to the mountain, not 1960s concrete tourism constructions. It explains why Austrians still win two out of every three world cup races. Grow up in one of these villages and the snow becomes your schoolmate. Gastein has 11,000 full time residents and 30,000 beds for those who come to play. Then the sun erupted, glorious and bright. The jetstream of an aircraft has put a spray foam on the sky, like the pilot was attempting to spell out the name of someone they

Kitz Gloves Eoghan Corry finds early season snow in Kirchberg

Like a carpet of cotton wool, the cloud sits in the valley below the Kirchberg-Kitzbühel ski area

loved high over the ski lift. Snow conditions turned bright again, and then, as we skied downhill we encountered a line across the piste like a micro-climate, than back into ice again, with the grating grizzling sound that conjured up out nothing so much as a broken leg. The ski instructor is Hans Steinkasserer but goes by the name Sem: “of 180 ski instructors on the first day, 13 had the name Hans, so I was Sem from Hoefgarten.”

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itzbühel is the plush cousin, often compared with Cortina. It got its artsy reputation early, from the opening of the fin de siècle Grand Hotel just before World War 1 and as the homestead of

legendary ski champion Tony Sailer (the “Blitz from Kitz”) and painter Alfons Walde, the first artist to successfully bring skiing as a subject into painting. His windblown art deco Stakhanov snow heroes feature on posters throughout the town. As you rise the Hahnenkammbahn lift, the names of the downhill champions name of the famous race are affixed to each gondola car. The shops, bars and accommodation are more chic and expensive than Kirchberg and a small casino brings a James Bond air to the place. We stayed late and ate mouth-melting tenderloin with Claudia Waldbrunner of the tourist board. Kitzbühel has 6,000 beds (Kirchberg has

7,000), a population of 8,200 and a further 3,000 beds in the valley: offering a mix of local and in-

vader at peak season. That sense of being in somebody’s home prevails in many of the ho-

tels. At Aegidius "Gidi" Koiel’s family run Hotel Bräuwirt, the dining room with an austere grand father and officious looking grand mother peer on the diners from a brown wood frame, still very much part of the family. At a nearby schnapps distiller Tonni De Man popped open the bottles of Obst schnapps, made from two flavours, straightening out the digestive tracts like a snowmaking cannon. Back in Kirchberg we sleigh-rode through the snowy streets in the hands of a pleasant charioteer Maria hochkogler and horses are called Cissi and Cora. Someone called for a Ballyfermot gallop.

■ Eoghan Corry travelled to Austria courtesy of Topflight, who offer charter flights to Salzburg. +3531 2401000 www.topflight.ie or your local travel agent. ■ He stayed in Kirchberg, a resort with access to both the Kitzbüheler Alps and Pass Thurn ( 170kms of piste) as well as access to the Ski Welt, Austria’s largest interconnected Ski Area. ■ Topflight have direct charter flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast to Salzburg every Saturday for the Winter Season. ■ Kirchberg and Kitzbühel, its snazzier ski neighbouring resort have an array of après ski activity from sports centres to sleigh rides, to toboganning, to shopping, to whet your appetite, as well as Kitzbuehel’s famed Casino where €27.50 gets you €30 worth of chips. ■ If you are a good intermediate skier, we recommend purchasing the Kitzbüheler Alpin All Star Card which gives access to both these ski areas. If you are a beginner – you can use the Kitzbühel Kirchberg Lift Pass at €241 (the other lift pass is only €249 you must decide which card before you purchase) ■ You can also try snowshoeing, winter hiking, cross-country skiing, and ski touring – it could be the year to try a new snowsport. ■ Prices including Topflight charter flights direct from Dublin, Cork and Belfast and full luggage allowances, transfers to resort and accommodation: ■ Kirchberg: Stay at the 4 star Zentral Hotel in the centre of town for €979 half board on March 7th. ■ Kitzbühel Stay at the excellent 3 Star Kolpinhaus Apartments from €451 on March 14th.

Clockwise: Tonni de Mann at Erber schnapps distillery, Maria Hochkogler, street scene in Kitzbühel, Aegidius "Gidi" Koiel’s outside Hotel Bräuwirt,


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SKI & SNOWBOARD NEWS 2015-16

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t does not happen very often (twice in 60 years) but the secret bonus for Irish skigoers in 2016 is that St Patrick’s Week is on the week before Easter, giving us a unique taste of the slopes ahead of the big European markets. Ski bookings for 201516 are slightly ahead of last year according to Crystal and Topflight and both have pushed up capacity by about 10pc on charters and 20pc considering allocations on scheduled flights. The earliest Easter since 2008 (March 27) means the charter season continues for just a week after St Patrick’s Day. The number of ski charters from Dublin is creeping back up to 2008 levels. Crystal and Topflight wil share flights out of Cork to Salzburg. Capacity out of Belfast has been reduced . Inghams no longer run an Innsbruck charter and confine themselves to Salzburg. Crystal operates to Geneva and Salzburg. Topflight operate a Toulouse charter. Verona is back on the map with Crystal and Topflight both raking allocations on the Aer Lingus flight. Topflight are also using Ryanair flights to Bergamo for the first time. While scheduled service can come to the resucue, independent flyers can find low-cost luggage restrictions a problem - a pair of ski boots can weigh 7kg. The February mid term coincides in both jurisdictions on Saturday February 13h and this is selling particularly fast. The Christmas December 19th departures are offering particularly good value at the time of going to press.

TOPFLIGHT

Chamonix in France, Madonna and Bormio in Italy and two new Austrian resorts, the high altitude resort of Obertauern, and

Siebererbrunn are on offer in the 2015-6 Topflgiht brochure.

VAL d’ISERE's famous Solaise sector at the heart of its ski area is to be given a €16m upgrade, which includes a massive earth moving project as well as a new lift. The new gondola will increase capacity by 40pc and can carry up to 3,600 passengers per hour, It will partially be completed this coming winter, but it a two year project so will not be fully finished until winter 2016-17. Bulldozers have already moved about a million tons of earth to create the base for an all new midmountain station at 2500m which is one of the parts scheduled to open this coming winter. VAIL Resorts is to

crowd source anonymised data' from the mobile phones of people on the slopes of their four Colorado resorts this winter in order to gather data on where lift queues are building up.

ASPEN is to ban

the use of drones at their four Colorado ski areas.

4 VALLEYS,

Switzerland's largest ski area, has announced it will cut prices in some quieter mid-season weeks in a bid to attract more business. Reductions announced so far are around 10pc on day pass prices during the low season weeks following the peak New Year week.

CRYSTAL ended its ski hosting service at all of its resorts, the practice of. tour operator staff taking clients on orientation tours of easy slopes to introduce them to the ski areas they're visiting. The company surveyed more than 2,300 of its customers in March and found that take up of the once popular ski hosting service had dropped to only 4pc

Snow’n’tell What’s new in ski this winter whilst it's self-guiding App was being used by 15pc of its customers and growing.

MID TERM for French schools run from February 6 to March 5 with most areas (the whole of France except Paris) having theirs' from February 13 (which is the main Irish, English and Danish mid-term week. March 26, Easter, is busiest for Belgium, Germany and Britain. LONDON’s ski

and snowboard shows will be moving to a new venue at Battersea Park from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th November 2015 after many years at Earls Court or London Olympia the show

AUSTRIA A Doppelmayr 10 seat gondola will link Saalbach and Fieberbrunn in a 20 million Euro connection that is being marketed as TirolS, creating an area of 240km (150 miles), served by 68 lifts, the second biggest in Austria after the Skiwelt by some measures. There are reported to be plans to further extend the area by connecting it to Zell am See in the future. The new lift will have a capacity of 2600 guests per hour and will start from a bottom station at Reckmoos-Süd, then have a middle station at the base of the Hörndlingergraben near the Pulverma-

cheralm, and then continue up to the Reiterkogel in the centre of the Skicirus.

NEILSON are to

offer free of charge ski guiding in France and other countries next season.

TAHOE Alpine

meadows and Squaw Valley at Lake Tahoe in California are to get a base-to-base gondola link with no ski runs between the two resorts.

SKIWELT will be

installing what it claims will be the world's fastest chairlift in time to begin next winter 2015-16 at Brixen im Thale, The new €12m Jochbahn, a detachable eight-seater chairlift, will operate on the resort's Sonnseite ("Sunny Side") and be nearly two and a half times faster than the lift it replaces, travelling at a world beating six-metres per second (mps) compared with the 2.5mps of the older lift. The Jochbahn, which comes with a ?12m price tag and an impressive hourly uplift capacity of 3,000 people, deploys not just the very latest technology, but the route will be extended too. all new state-of-the-art he-tec 3S gondola lift on

MYRHOFEN's new lift to the Penken ski area, which should

open in time for next winter, will make the more than 1,150m vertical ascent in just 8.2 minutes and have cabins each capable of seating up to 24 people and 3,840 passengers an hour.

CRYSTAL Ski Plus packages are available at 39 resorts this winter. Prices are from €599 and hotel credits of €150 are available in some resort. GERMAN ski resorts are on offer from the Crystal Salzburg charter this year.

VAIL Resorts is to merge the neighbouring ski areas of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Utah to create the largest ski area in the US (and second largest in North America, behind Whistler Blackcomb) for 2015-16. ZERMATT will

be building a second lift to the Klein Matterhorn, Europe's highest ski-lift served point at just under 3,900m, in time for the 2018/19 winter season.

SCOTLAND

Four of Scotland ski centres arespending £5.5m on upgrades. Glencoe and Glenshee will upgrade chairlifts, whilst The Lecht and Nevis Range will upgrade drag lifts.

CRYSTAL is the

only company offering direct flights to Innsbruck and Chambery this winter, offering the fastest transfers to Mayrhofen from Innsbruck and up to an hour advantage in shorter transfers to the French resorts from Chambery as opposed to Lyon.

BULGARIA

will be accessible from Ireland after all in winter 2015-16, but only from Belfast. Peter McMinn’s Travel Solutions is introducing a ski programme from Belfast to Bulgaria for winter 2013/14 to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of Radka Lynn's Balkan Tours. Ski holidays to Bulgaria are on sale from €574pp for seven nights. Weekly departures from Belfast to Plovdiv will operate from December 28, 2014, to March 15, 2015.

BAD GASTEIN is offering a free lift pass for over-60s staying six nights over the St Patrick’s Day period, departure of March 15th.

VAL THORENS

has a new high speed chairlift called Pionniers that will replace the old Three Vallées Chairlift. The new Funitel gondola takes skiers from 2780m up to 3000m in approximately 2 minutes and offering two new, high altitude pistes.


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DESTINATION USA section of the 35.4km of disused rail section, being transformed into parks, green space and bicycle greenways through overgrowth and fringelands. The BeltLine trails attract 1.2m million visitors a year now and appropriately the inventor of the concept was a gentleman called Ryan Gravel. Where more famous cities just have one, Atlanta has three skylines like an old Asian centre: Buckhead, Downtown and Midtown. Anna Marissa Fetz brought us through Ponce City Market, one of the redevelopments that will redefine the loop: like everybody it wants to be Chelsea market and is having an opening every weekend this autumn.

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here is a line in Anne Tyler’s novel (and subsequent movie) The Accidental Tourist that in the southeast they say that if you want to go to heaven you have to change planes in Atlanta. It was a bit like that for many Irish people. We fly the Delta service to Atlanta has been around 20 years, and having changed terminal and aircraft, continue to somewhere around. What is this mysterious Georgia that we spend two hours and fourteen minutes in without ever trying to find out more. Atlanta has decided it has enough of transit passengers. It wants more Irish to stop by. What to see? First advantage: the business of getting around has become so much easier. The Atlanta streetcar has been in action for about a year now doing a 2.7 mile loop that opened on New Year's Eve and was declared free for the first year. After that it will cost one dollar travel.

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he MARTA to join this group is $9 a journey from the airport considering the usual cause of transportation in the USA is a give-

Eoghan Corry in Georgia

Life is a peach Chef Julia LeRoy and her audience of travel writers at Atlanta botanic Garden cookery demonstration

ATLANTA LANDINGS

away. The signature at-

■ Centre for Civil and Human Rights (100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW) uses theatrical and high-tech exhibits to recreate motion, sights and sounds to immerse visitors in the American civil rights movement. Try to sit through the abuse and intimidation that was used on blacks in white only restaurants. ■ World of Coca-Cola (121 Baker St NW) visual and interactive museum dedicated to Atlanta’s native soft drink with multi-sensory theater, an 1880s soda fountain and an opportunity to sample the corporation’s 70 beverages from around the globe. ■ Georgia Aquarium (225 Baker St NW) North America’s largest aquarium features aquatic animals from around the globe in 10m gallons of water. ■ Inside CNN Studio Tour (190 Marietta St) behind the scenes of the Global Headquarters of CNN . ■ JCT. Kitchen & Bar 1198 Howell Mill Road Atlanta warm and friendly restaurant on the Westside serving up

tractions of Atlanta are

sophisticated, Southern fare, ■ Atlanta Streetcar a 4.3km loop connecting downtown’s convention and tourism district to the historic Sweet Auburn district on the Eastside. ■ Birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in the Sweet Auburn neighbourhood. ■ Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St, renovated 1920s warehouse and the former home of Tyler Perry Studios ■ Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave, housed in the fully renovated 1925 Sears, Roebuck & Company building, the largest brick building in the Southeast, to feature a central food hall, leading retail brands, and living and working spaces. ■ Porter Beer Bar (1156 Euclid Ave NE) cosy restaurant with its handcrafted wooden booths and exposed brick wall, 44 beers on draft or one of the 700 bottled beers.

the CNN studio tour, the world of Coca-Cola and the huge Georgia aquarium, which is among the biggest inland of its kind in the world. We were looking beyond that, and where better to start then the walking tour of the Martin Luther King Jr historic district. The landscape of the great man’s childhood. We passed through the Sweet Auburn kerb market and sampled what was billed as best burritos in Atlanta. And then another surprise, René Garcia brought us on a 3.2km

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he evening finished with a visit to Bruce Munro's Light in the Gardens installation, and an interactive cookery class at the Botanical Gardens. No more beautiful a location could you find. Julia Leroy talked us through - smoke points of various oils, tackled chickpeas and did outrageous things with eggplant. She had great spakes: “My momma always said if you are not tasting you are not cooking,.” And “if you want to be a chef you have to have $20 spoons. She comes from Detroit, “where the weak are killed and eaten.” Not like Atlanta then.

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eorgia’s nickname and symbol usually served up at meal’s end , dessert time, the peach state. The problem is that by the time dessert comes round, you may not have room for peaches. Tracy Vaughan of Vis-

itgeorgia will list the accolades, big time celebrity chefs in the cities, the trendy flatbreads, peel and eat shrimps and black ruffle fries, the foods of the rich and the poor alike of the country being lovingly recreated for a food-fascinated new age, and the old staples that will never go away. Tripadvisor reviewers picked Georgia as the best state for barbecue, because Tripadvisor reviewers would know. Today you are more likely t find southern fried calamari than chicken, but when they serve chicken they do it with a drawl: “if the colonel served chicken this good he would be a general” went one fógra-board. If, as is oft said in the trade, food is the glue that holds international tourism together Georgia has got this one by the throat. The come and eat story has evolved over the years across Southern USA but here more than most. We sampled one of the most iconic: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and its succotash amid the laden tables. There are no bookings, so people queue for their time at the table. It costs $20 for an all you can eat session, they serve just 250 a day and stop serving 2pm. “You need to wear stretchy pants,” Marsha Thompson says. Savannah’s cuisine is not all based on size, tour guide Philip Sellers walked us through the storied streets and squares are dotted with curated small shops set up by entrepreneurs and little eateries, like Hoppinjohns, the creation of cookery writer and chef John Martin Taylor, which apparently put stone ground grits on the map.

■ Eoghan Corry flew to Atlanta with Delta. Delta operate daily flights between Dublin and Atlanta., DL177 at 11:20 and DL176 departing Atlanta 20.36 arriving Dublin 9:25 (next day). Economy return fares start from € 885 economy and €2313 Euro in Delta One (Business Class). To book, see delta.com, call Delta reservations on 01 6590298 or visit your travel agent.


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DESTINATION USA A lone bird stood on the top of the mast of a dolphin watching craft, one of 11 moored on the pier. The water looked invitingly muddy-marsh dark and salty and beckoning to the swimmer, while the fish jumped in plops pursuing their lifestyle secure in the knowledge that nobody was going to chase them from their habitat.

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avannah has had many appearances on the silver screen. At times passing through the streets you think you are in a movie set, as the black horse drawn carriages with red mortarboard tops pull by, clipping and clopping like a southern melody, the passengers refusing to view anything except through an oblong screen. At John and Ginger Duncan’s V&J antiques we caught up on the best known: the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and its movie version. The book is all humidity tension: Spanish Moss and atmosphere, and so is the Duncan homestead, laid out like it belonged to an age that has never passed. There is another city that claims to be the custodian of the age but John Duncan had an answer to that: “Charleston is older and finer Savannah is prettier they had 200 years of slavery we had 100.” In one of the squares a statue commemorates William Jasper, the Irishman who saved Savannah

N John and Ginger Duncan’s of V&J Antiques with dogs Charlie and Emma in the fight against the British in 1779. A beautiful place to die.

J

ekyll Island should really be about lost glory and faded grandeur . The grandeur, for what it is worth, has been given a dusting down and a lick of paint. The glory really can never be lost as long as the sun serves up something that is quite unusual in East Coast USA, a sun-

■ ECHO Restaurant, King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort, iconic St Suons Island resort with its own beaches, 201 Arnold Road, St Simons Island, 912638-3631. ■ St Simons Island highlights include Christ Church, Fort Frederica National Monument, remnants of fort and town built by James Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748, and St. Simons Lighthouse and Museum

set over water. We watched that sunset from the vantage point of a pier side restaurant with the exquisiteries of local seafood being delivered to the plates below our noses. The sunset smells of dinner. The wild Georgia shrimp and grits festival takes place in Jekyll island in the third week in September, but you don’t have to wait until then.

ISLAND DRESSING

■ Jekyll Island Georgia Sea Turtle Museum and National Historic Landmark District millionaire cottages, site of the first transcontinental telephone call, and first condominium ■ Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, one of the most photographed tree graveyards located at the north end of Jekyll Island.

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he following morning as the daylight ramped up it was silent where the troubadour had been singing Roberta Flack and the party glasses tinkling only a few hours before.

ot so the diamond back turtles. So many were being run over by cars after the causeway was built that they turned part of this complex into a turtle sanctuary. Here children come and navigate their way past the plastic circular tubs and their incumbents, infected, wounded or damaged turtles, like passing through a sick day on the way to the

■ Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, 107 West Jones St., Savannah 912-2325997, No bookings for this iconic eatery, queue and hope to get into a living room environment with tables heaving with classic southern produce. ■ Savannah Old City Walks, Phil Sellers, provides walking tour of historic district, access to period houses not usually available to tourists. ■ Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlour, 212 E Broughton Street Savannah, try the classic 1950s tutti frutti,. ■ Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah’s most famous, former location of the famous bird girl statue, used on the cover of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it is now in the Telfair Museum of Art.

playground, starting with a room full of untidy display cases, storyboards and not-very-fun “fun facts” and exiting, as tourists are used to doing nowadays, through the gift shop with its overpriced tee shirts. We were driven through the island by our hostess in a convertible with Knee Deep by Zach Brown band (appropriately, from Georgia) with Jimmy Buffett. The music and the landscape converged, like there was no margins. Later on skeleton beach we walked through the sand with the broken branches all around. At Fort Frederica there is a church with honey bees in the steeple that was built with hard pine that does not exist any more. The forest was lumbered out of existence. They grow peaches there now, no doubt.

SAVANNAH SCENE

■ Wormsloe State Historic Site, with its Avenue of 400 Live Oaks leading to the tabby ruins of Noble Jones’ colonial estate – the oldest standing structure in Savannah. ■ Tanger Outlet Mall, newly opened north of Savannah in April 2015, with 80 outlet stores ■ Bubba’s Bistro, Ways Station Shopping Center, Richmond Hill, fine food in the historic Richmond Hill district 912-756-3663. ■ Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, 5556 U.S. Highway 17 North, Brunswick, GA. 912-264-7333. representing the pre-Civil War history and culture of Georgia’s rice coast.

Clockwise: The house in which Miidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was set, southern food, the ubiquitous Spanish Moss and sign at Bradley’s


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DESTINATION SRI LANKA

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arco Polo’s favourite island, Sri Lanka, is a bus stop in the Indian ocean. Everyone came by to spend some time here. Each of them left their own religious, cultural, political and military footprints, often on the same hilltops. It is a dizzying place to visit as a result, palm fringed beaches and some of the holiest spiritual sites in the world, accidental dining where the celebrity is the food (not the chef), and attractions that belong in the top drawer, all within 200 miles of each other and the brochure beach resorts around Bentota, each worth seeing and worth travelling to see as well. varicious westerners, of course, came to make their claim, Sri Lanka had 150 years each of Portuguese, Dutch and English rule, but it is as if they never had to worry that they would hang around. Nowadays they are

Garden of the Galaxy Eoghan Corry explores the cultural side of Sri Lanka

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The stunning view from the climb to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Sigiriya probably condemned to 150 years of hotel guests each with their own demands.

Sri Lanka wears its cricket legacy and Portuguese-style baila music as casually as the ancient

Clockwise: walking on hot coals in Kandy, Eoghan Corry atop Sigiriya, Emily Fairbairn at the turtle sanctuary in Mirissa, looking back down the climb at atop Sigiriya, elephants take a bath at Pinnawala and the most dangerous thing we saw in Sri Lanka: a hornet warning.

snake deities and Buddhist traditions that seem to lurk around each corner of the narrow roads. And, delightfully, the roads are narrow and the traffic occasionally chaotic. “Some countries drive on the left, others drive in the left, ours is optional,” said our driver, and gave that slightly scarey grin suggesting he meant it. In the fields around the plants are fighting for space, Sri Lanka is a garden, a work of flora in progress. The entertainment area of one of our hotels was built around a 20-year-old banyan tree. Fruit bats hung from the trees around the swimming pool at another. All seem to be thriving: plants, philosophy, people, wildlife. All are inseparable.

H

ow can they ensure people come to help the Sri Lankan government meet its impossibly ambitious tourism target? Let’s start with the food. Every meal here is a festival. Every dish is an individual work of art, the antithesis of standardized menus that other cultures mistakenly call fine dining. “Every home has their own kitchen,” “the blending of spices varies from kitchen to kitchen.” Food can be expedient as well. Watercress is anti diarrhetic. Kanda curry leaves are useful in diarrhoea dysentery and piles. No, I didn’t know either. Our host hotels outdo each other in palatepleasing philanthropy: banana milk, sweet lassi, papaya and banana yogurt, avocado smoothies,

guava and sugar cane compotes, potato masala curry, white curry, fish ambultiyal, sambaru, string hoppers (red and white), and that is just breakfast. A well-fed holiday maker is a happy holidaymaker. The spices are sold at the tourist traps, but the best stuff is in local supermarkets at a quarter of the price.

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t Kandy we sat for the folk opera: part folk dance (Bulgarian sideways in costume) part folk dance (Irish, high stepping), part circus act with cart wheeling Sinhalese warriors and spinning rabans on sticks all with a discordant whine for all the world sounding like a bag pipes that had been left out in the tropi-

■ For details of great fares and connections to Sri Lanka please call Sri Lankan Airlines on 01 6633939 or email srilankan@premair.ie ■ Eoghan Corry travelled to Sri Lanka as a guest of Sri Lanka Tourism. For more information: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Tel : +44 207 262 1841 infouk@srilanka.travel www.srilanka.travel


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DESTINATION SRI LANKA cal sun for an hour or two too long We went to see the dramatic but necessarily expedient fire walking and fire dancing, like the tourists that we were, And then on to one of the spiritual centres of the east, where one of Buddha’s canines is kept locked away from view but that did not stop us., the sacred temple of the tooth, queues of pilgrims in white sarongs and bare feet, all clanging gongs like the opening of the old cinema newsreels and rare reminders of more modern influences such as the sign by the stairs saying: “the service of the elevator is available for disabled devotees.” There is something awkwardly tourist about the way to approach these endless temples and caves, the hundreds of statues. A spiritual selfie? (“you cannot have your face shown with the Bud-

Josephine Price lighting prayer flames in the sacred Buddhist Temple of the Tooth, Kandy dha you have to be sideways”), or a prayer. The Buddhists are one of those religions which doesn’t mind.

■ Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living amid waterfalls and elephant coloured rocks ■ Kandy, last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka in the midst of hills, the 6th-century Lion Rock of Sigiriya built by King Kasyapa, fearful of his brother’s revenge for killing his father, and decorated with glowing frescoes of bare-breasted nymphs. ■ Galle Fort a well preserved example of 17th century coastal fortifications started by the Portuguese,e finished by

T

he ubiquitous Buddhist flag of five colours seems dramatically contemporary in the rainbow age.

“Is Buddhism a philosophy or a religion,” tour guide Susantha Jotila asks. “It started as a philosophy for the intelligent

THINGS TO DO PLACES TO SEE

the Dutch and then passed to the English. ■ Kandy Cultural Show performed by the traditional Kandyan dancers on a daily basis with some firewalking to finish. ■ Habaraduwa Turtle Hatchery has released 4m turtles in 35 years. Baby turtles in hordes and tanks holding injured turtles, including a couple of impressively large specimens, swimming about their tanks, recovering in the hatchery until they could be re-released. They come with human names, Monica is taken out of her tank for selfie. There is a pattern of casualties: motorboat, shark and the turtle who

man.” Later, it became a religion, and that we even ask the question nowadays is a reflection on how successful it was.

lost her two front flippers in the 2000 St Stephen’s Day tsunami. ■ Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic is the fifth holiest site in Buddhism. The annual pageant (Esala Perahera) attracts thousands of pilgrims A neat place to people watch (pilgrim watch?). ■ Habarana, popular tourist destination for safari lovers and starting point for safaris in the nearby jungle and Minneriya National Park which is heavily populated by elephants. ■ Golden Temple of Dambulla, largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka towering 160 m over the surrounding plains. The action is

Philosophy mattered when Sri Lanka hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Tamil campaign and the extermination of their partisans was ruthless. It was raised in conversation, but nobody professed to have any real information. How many died in the St Stephens Day Tsunami of 2000? It was once said 50,000, now 38,000, but it does not matter: the memories are real and some of the individual incidents were major world tragedies in their own right such as the 1,500 who died when a single train was swept away. On the coastline there are some memorials The past is not a foreign country as LP Hartley claimed, just the past. Sri Lanka has more of it than almost anywhere else on the planet.The trouble with bus stops.

spread over five caves of contain statues and paintings with a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. Murals cover an area of 2,100 square metre including the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first sermon. ■ Sigiriya geological formation with , with numerous temples and shrines set around a tranquil lake. and stunning views of the surrounding countryside as you climb. ■ Hamabantota, a coastal town that is close to four national parks ■ Anuradhapura, the ruined capital of the old Singhalese kingdom, famous for its massive Buddha temples

Clockwise: Monkeys at Sigiriya, photographing a Toque monkey, Galle and a school group from northern Sri Lanka in Polonnaruwa


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ASIA GUIDE

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ever has Ireland enjoyed so many one stop connections to so many Asian destinations, through Istanbul, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Over 200,000 seats each were filled by Emirates and Etihad out of Dublin last year with a big increase coming this summer with the move to double daily. Beatrice Cosgrove said that Etihad's double daily services to Asian destinations will mean a minimal impact on connections to ireland after the enforced reduction of the Dublin-Abu Dhabi service to single daily from January to June next year. Turkish increased Dublin to Istanbul to double daily. The airline has over 200 onwards destinations connecting through Ataturk airport. Here is a brief guide to some of the riches on offer:

CAMBODIA

The great Khmer temple complex at Angkor is the country’s biggest tourist attraction with 2m visitors each year. Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in south-east Asia, passing bird-filled wetlands, rickety fishing boats and villagers waving excitedly from the shore. Phnom Penh sights include the Royal Palace, whose gilded pagodas are similar to those in Bangkok. The Tuol Sleng Museum and collection of bones at the Killing Fields recall the horrors endured under Pol Pot’s regime.

CHINA The Great Wall is a short trip from Beijing, other signatures include Xian where the terracotta army as located, the Yangtse river and the soaring skyscrapers of Guangzhou. INDIA

Indian Ambassador Radhika Lokesh revealed the inbound tourism had increased by 40pc since the launch of the e-visa

Beauty and the east

Destinations to watch as Ireland gets more Asian connections

Aircraft in Dubai at sunrise: overwhelming majority of the connections opened up by new air services from Ireland are in Asia facilitywhich has now been extended to irish customerss. The Golden triangle of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Fatehpur Sikri is where the first taste tourists go. An easier introduction to India is Kerala, with its Arabic charm. Once past those you can spend a lifetime discovering the different palaces, landscapes and cultures. What may be the most beautiful landscapes on the entire planet can be found high in the Himalayas at Ladakh. Teeming Mumbai, the deserts of Rajastan, and the rich cultures of the Ganges and Indus rivers are worth a look. Incredible India say first time visitors favour their 6 night group tour Classical India from €649 and their 12 night group tour 'Classical Rajasthan covers the majority of the North in one trip. Martin Penrose of If Only has organised a major fam to India from the Irish trade.

INDONESIA

Bali is the tourist hub but you can escape the crowds out on the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan. Ubud is the Bali’s cultural heart there are great art galleries and countryside to wander in. Lombok has a

scaleable volcano, Mount Rinjani, and is growing in popularity. The most obvious resort is Senggigi, flanked by white-sand bays. Gili Trawangan is a hot spot for divers. On Java you can find the Buddhist and Hindu temples of Borobudur and Prambana.

JAPAN

Urban and rural culture in equal measure, stunning landscapes, crowded cities and amazing food. Visitors cngregate at Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area, Himejijo, Shirakami-Sanchi, Yakushima, Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities), Shirakawago and Gokayama, Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome), Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, Shrines and Temples of Nikko, Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, Shiretoko and Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape.

LAOS

Star attractions in landlocked Laos are the Mekong islands of Si Phan Don, home to fishing villages, water-

falls and rare Irrawaddy dolphins. Boutique hotels can be found in the country’s capital, Vientiane, alongside colonial villas, pleasant boulevards and Laos’s most important golden stupa, the 150ft-tall Pha That Luang. Luang Prabang is one of the most beguiling cities in Asia, with Unesco World Heritage status and faded French charm.

MALAYSIA

Beach-lovers can choose between islands off both the east and west coast, Pulau Langkawi, and Palau Tiomen. The Perhentian Islands are the least developed. Malaysian Borneo attracts wildlife fanatics to the lush states of Sabah and Sarawak. At Sabah you can view orangutans, dive at Pulau Sipadan and climb Mount Kinabalu (4,095m). Sarawak is famous for river trips to see indigenous tribes living in communal longhouses. Cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Malacca have a rich heritage and well-preserved colonial architecture.

PHILIPPINES

A new slogan: More Fun In The Philippines and increased air lift through Abu Dhabi, Dubai and

Istanbul, this archipelago has a mixture of pastry beaches and heritage sites, the baroque Churches, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, the historic Town of Vigan and PuertoPrincesa Subterranean River National Park.

SINGAPORE

is clean and respectable in its modernity, with ageing colonial relics, vibrant nightlife at Clarke Quay and even urban rainforest, at Bukit Timah.

TAIWAN

Three key attractions in its armoury, the beautiful Taroko Gorge, the first tall building in the world to reach more than 500m, Taipei 101 and the ancient imperial treasury of China, now housed in the Palace Museum. Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry was suitably impressed on a recent visit there.

THAILAND

Famous beaches can be found on two separated coastlines of what is easily the most popular Asian destination with the Irish. who travel in numbers (an anticipated 63,000 visitors in 2013) and base themselves in

Bangkok and go overland to Pattaya or by short flight to Phuket, Koh Samui or Chiang Mai. Huge investment has kept hotel standards high and opened new possibilities. You can spend a lifetime exploring all 77 provinces so don’t stop there, especially attractive are the highlands and rich cultures of the Mekong.

VIETNAM

Signature attraction, a contender for natural wonder of the world, is the soaring limestone peaks of Halong Bay. At Mui Ne you can find sand dunes, watersports and luxury hotels. The signature cities are historic Hue and Hoi An, where tailors cut silk to order in streets lined with Unesco-preserved houses. Tours generally begin and end in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, home to the moving War Remnants Museum and a jumping off point to try out the impossible narrow Cu Chi tunnels, and Hanoi where you can visit the simple cottage headquarters Ho Chi Minh and his embalmed tomb. Best hikes are in the misty hills of Sapa.


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AFLOAT

HOLLAND America Line’s 740-passenger elegant explorer MS Prinsendam overnighted in Dublin on Monday, completed with a demonstration for guests on how to cook an Irish breakfast. Carly Perkins, Marketing Manager at Holland America Line, hosted representatives of the travel trade on board at an evening event. Prinsendam is one of only a handful of cruise ships that can transit the Kiel Canal, due to low height above the waterline. MIAMI

Royal Caribbean signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Miami-Dade County to build, finance and operate a $100m cruise terminal at PortMiami able to accommodate the line's largest cruise ships to be completed July 31, 2018.

CUNARD 's Queen Victoria will transit

the Amazon as part of a 120-night world cruise next year to become the largest cruise ship to visit the Amazon River. The ship will visit 32 ports in 17 countries and make two maiden calls – in Manaus and Santaren, Brazil.

DUBLIN PORT EIB agreed a

€100m loan to upgrade Dublin Port. The big rush of cruise ships to Dublin, which peaked at 13,000 passengers in one day in July, is officially at an end but they continue to come. Fred Olsen are responsible for four of the five cruise ship visits to Dublin port from October to year end, some are afternoon visits but the cruise line remains Dublin’s biggest supporter.

Norwegian Escape shortly after her launch

The great Escape

CRYSTAL Esprit, the first ship in the Crystal Yacht Cruises fleet, will feature cuisine that focuses on local ingredients from the SeyThe Norwegian Escape will be chelles Islands and Mediterranean coast, as homeported in the Port of Miami, re- well as signature dishes from sister company placing Norwegian Epic, sailing Crystal Cruises. seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruising ICG Irish Continental Group trebled their to Tortola, Virgin Islands; St. first-half operating profit from €5.2m to Thomas, and Nassau, Bahamas. €16.4m. Passenger volumes rose 2.6pc to The Norwegian Getaway will 701,600. Roro freight grew by 11.5pc. move to the Western Caribbean run is set to sail a Escape will feature two boutiques, QUEEN MARY 2 Full World Voyage in 2017 to take advantage Lacoste and Carolina Herrera, of enhancements from a 25-day dry dock refurbishment at the Blohm+Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, in May, 2016 with 30 new balcony cabins for Britannia-class passengers, and added kennel space for those who wish to bring their dogs at €700 a kennel.

Even bigger ‘Breakaway Plus’ ship heads for Miami

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orwegian Cruise Line's largest ship the 4,200 passenger Norwegian Escape, floated out of the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany in advance of its inaugurals in Hamburg on October 22 and Miami on November 14. The ship will feature a series of branded dining and entertainment experiences: two new speciality restaurants from chef Jose Garces; the Food

Republic emporium from The Pubbelly Restaurant Group; the District Brew House; The Cellars Michael Mondavi Family wine bar; new Supper Club; two Tony Award-winning Broadway musicals; and the musical Million Dollar Quartet. The US focus of the ship is reflected in that the name of the ship was selected in a contest on USA Today. Wildlife artist Guy Harvey designed the hull artwork

ROYAL BOOKINGS UP AND GAINING SHARE

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oyal Caribbean’s sales in ireland are up 35pc, according to trade sales manager Ben Bouldin. “This is no mean feat and significantly outpaced the growth we have seen elsewhere. We know that this market a strong one and we can expand significantly.”

Bouldin said Royal Caribbean met strong competition from MSC and NCL in the Irish market in 2013 and there had been some market segmentation. in particular, the loss of Palma and Malaga departures in 2012 had hit Royal Caribbean’s market share “Our instinct tells us that

we are taking this year and we think we have 45-50pc share of the market but it is very difficult to quantify that number.” “We actually don;t own the guests until the guests have sailed with us, as 80pc of our business is booked through the trade.”

MSC The newly refurbished MSC Lirica will homeport in Shanghai from May 1, 2016, initially for two years, Rebecca Kelly told guests on board MSC Splendida last week.

ROYAL Caribbean research shows that 53pc of Irish customers take four holidays a year or more and 60pc of guests fly to cruise. Ireland still has the highest satisfaction ratings of any nation on Royal passenger surveys. HARMONY of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's third Oasis-class cruise ship, will be the first vessel in the fleet to feature the Splashaway Bay aqua park for kids.

Ben Bouldin

VIKING Ocean Cruises is removing and refitting shower glass on its new ship, Viking Star after incidents in which they shattered without provocation.


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IAA

THE FLYING COLUMN

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

chief executive Eamonn Brennan joined the call for a parallel runway at Dublin with news that commercial take-offs and landings at Dublin Airport are up 11pc to 585 every day in August. The debate is stirring among objectors in Portmarnock and St Margaret's.

UNITED Airlines has named Oscar

Munoz as president and CEO with immediate effect after Jeff Smisek stepped down from his roles as chairman, president and CEO as a result of a corruption allegation.

TURKISH Airlines CEO Temel Kotil said Turkish may strengthen its relationship with Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

SINGAPORE Airlines premium economy roll-out was delayed, affecting only the carrier's A380 fleet and not flights operated by B777-300ERs, but it covers a wide range of destinations, including London Heathrow. AER LINGUS chairman Colm Bar-

rington’s Fly Leasing recently supplied a Boeing aircraft to Norwegian.

KNOCK Ireland West airport launched

the country's first online airport TV channel, broadcasting its latest news and live events as they happen on a new online TV channel. Knock Airport had 80,000 passengers in August, down 22pc.

ALCOHOL Flight attendant Charee

Stanley claimed she was suspended by ExpressJet because of her refusal to serve alcohol due to her religious beliefs, saying she only realised in June that Islam bans serving alcohol, as well as drinking it

CORK Airport had 243,553 passengers in

MALAYSIA Airlines ordered four A350-900s to be delivered between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018. Malaysia Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller will announce a reduction of its fleet in the next few days: We do not have the financial means to work with a bang. We can’t repaint aircraft and refurbish all seats overnight. What you should expect is a quick succession of announcements and quick cut-over dates where we will work on seats, caterers, in-flight entertainment and so on. In the next a couple of months we are going to renew the customer experience. We are considering a very light brand refresh so that our customers and employees can feel the fresh start.” July, down 2.5pc.

SAS launched a 5w Stockholm-Hong Kong route. SAS opened a refurbished lounge in Stockholm Arlanda airport's Terminal 5 is now 1,400sqm in size and has two separate sections. AUSTRIAN will resume Vienna-

Shanghai 5w from Apr 4 2016, increasing to daily from May 3 using B777-200ER. Cathay Pacific added a 4w Madrid to start on June 2 .

AIR CANADA ROUGE is to fly to Glasgow, Budapest, and Warsaw and resume a link to Prague last served in the 1970s, as well as its first route to Africa.

Minister Paschal Dnohoe speaking at the IAA drones event at Weston Airport

Mr & Mrs Drones IAA moves to regulate burgeoning air sector

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reland to become a test site for drones? Wouldn’t that be great? Gearóid Ó Brian told at the Irish Aviation Authority drones event at Weston. Ó Brian outlined the opportunities for the sector drawing on Ireland’s aviation tradition. Paschal Donohoe delivered the keynote speech at an event which teased out the implications of increased use of drones, while barrister said there were 4,000 drones in Ireland insurers at the event said the real

figure is closer to 6,000. Ralph James talked about the modern aviators and quoted NASA director on Ireland’s prospects to be a world leader in drone technology. Although videos of drones being shot out of the sky look very exciting as are the consequences, meet the drones was an appropriate name for the event and not all of them could fly, as a succession of speakers went through health and safety and legal issues. Julie Garland, Chairperson of the Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ire-

land, said they would encourage "prosecution of people who post footage on YouTube which has been gathered in breach of regulations." Registration of a device as an aircraft kicks in at 20kg, which is two Ryanair carry-on bags, and drones operating close to an airport may be subject to air traffic control. The height limit is 400 feet before drones start breaching regulations.

LUXURY THROUGH THE AIRPORT

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ublin Airport Platinum Service Lounge has reopened and the traditional airport VIP section for dignitaries’ and celebrities is on offer for sale. Access to the services costs €160 and consist of a personalised VIP service, entering through a private area, to a private security check point and a seven series BMW to drive guests to the aircraft. DAA are interested in increasing the 25 agents who currently sell the add-on service, commissionable at 10pc. “It is a premium arrivals and departures service at Dublin airport,” Grainne Morrison business services manager says.” It is pretty swift, very private and very discreet.” “We service everything from corporate, commercially important people, VIPs, ministers, dignitaries’ and heads of state.” “People can book commercially through us even if they are travelling on an economy flight. We have a rate card and they can book here for a special treat or just to escape the hassle

Grainne Morriosn talks to the trade about Platinum Service and strain of passing through the airport.” “There is a private check in area. Some people arrive her just with their luggage and their passports and we would actually go throughout their behalf and check them in. Meanwhile they would stay in their own private suite. At time of boarding we would take them through their own private security channel. We would put them

into a BMW and escort them to the ramp. We give them the choice of boarding first or last. On return we do the opposite, we meet them on the air bridge and escort them back. We will escort them through immigration and if they have baggage checked we have porters here who would go and get the bag and bring them from the carousel.”


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Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 29

THE FLYING COLUMN

DUBLIN AIRPORT air traffic

was up 11pc in August. There were an average 585 commercial movements every day. Cork saw a 1.3pc increase in traffic with an average 64 daily commercial flights. Shannon was down 21.1pc with an average of 56 commercial daily flights. The number of international arrivals and departures at state airports was up 6.6pc YOY, an average of 705 flights every day. Total flights in Irish airspace were up 7.4pc. There was an average of 1,776 daily flights. The busiest day was August 20 with 1,875 flights in Irish airspace.

Less garish and lighter with slightly more legroom

Mellow Yellow

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Ryanair goes for more blue and less yellow

ew aircraft interiors will be introduced by Ryanair from December. The airline is “going from a lot of yellow to a little less yellow and a little more blue.” The interiors will come with new lightweight seats which willl cut fuel bills. But the airline wil not compromise on legroom. “You are going to see a very different customer experience,” Kenny Jacobs of Ryanair said. We are also launching new menus with a more European style choice of food. There will also be healthier choices available. “Because it is lightweight you will have more distance sitting as a customer sitting in those seats. Those seats coupled with the new Boeing Sky interiors allow us to create a different flying environment for our customers with more legroom and we are excited about that.” Ryanair currently has a 30 to 32 inch seat pitch, and has avoided the temptaion to reduce seat pitch to get more seats on tis aricraft.

Jacobs says Ryanair will also be retro fitting the existing non-max aircraft “with the less yellow look with different bulkheads at the front and the back of the aircraft and the amount for yellow on the hatpins will also be reduced.” “We have big ambitious. We are a very ambitious and relentless business. We want to become the number one platform in Europe. Forward bookings, load factors, traffic, we are happy where the business is at the moment.” The traffic forecast for 2015 has been upgraded to 103m and 380 aircraft are on order, on 1600 routes. We want to grow everywhere. One place we will call out is Germany. We have a 5pc market share and we have it in our plans to grow to 15pc to 20pc market share of Europe’s biggest market. It has he biggest population, but more interesting from our point of view it has the lowest penetration of low cost aviation. That is something we want to change. We are adding a lot of capacity. We have big growth plans in Germany.

“Last April we launched a very different website for Ryanair that made it possible for your to book a flight in five clicks and we have launched our first mobile app.” “The website we launch at the start of October will be the best airline airline across Europe. And every single month the Ryanair app gets updated with new features.” Ryanair carried 30m passenegrs this summer, 9.5m in June, 10.1m in July, 10.4m in August, load factor 93pc in June, 95pc in July and 95pc in August. It is the seventh airline to carry 10m passenegrs in one month, the first was Aeroflot in July 1970 and put in many more 10m months before the collapse of the Soviet Union, reaching 100m passengers a year in 1976, while The club now includes Delta, Southwest, China Southern, United and American Airlines with China Eastern likely to join in the near future. It is a long way from the a 15-seater Bandeirante aircraft which took off from Waterford for Gatwick airport in 1985.

TURKISH Airlines VP for Europe and America Mustafa Dogan was in Ireland this month to meet the team and join the festivities at the Turkish-sponsored MELA multi cultural festival in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Turkish plans to increase services above its current two flights daily to Istanbul are still in place. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Turkish Airlines will offer daily direct Istanbul-Cape Town and Istanbul-Johannesburg flights from October 26 using A330300 aircraft, doubling capacity on the South African route.

RYANAIR launched its 2016 summer program from Rome with 40 routes. CAPA analysed Ryanair’s prospects in the German market. Ryanair announced a 74th base, in Santiago de Compostela, its 12th in Spain, with one aircraft in summer 2016. ASL Howard Millar has joined the board of ASL Aviation Group. CITYJET

has struck a partnership with Falko Regional Aircraft to win “wet lease” contracts to provide aircraft and crew to fly short haul routes.

RYANAIR successfully recovered the $5m that was subject of a fraudulent electronic transfer to a Chinese bank in April.

DUBLIN Airport is to open a new lounge for passengers travelling to the USA in 2016 which will be positioned after the US Preclearance checks.

ETIHAD is seeking to raise $500m for

fleet expansion.effort to upgrade facilities to

For more information please contact us at +353-1-679-3958 or at aircanada@premair.ie


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THE FLYING COLUMN

MAINTENANCE Ros Wynne from Dublin who works with Atlantic Aviation Group in Shannon won the Gold Medal in Aircraft Maintenance at the 43rd WorldSkills competition in São Paulo, Brazil

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

RYANAIR attracted a record 250,000 Facebook followers in six weeks to its ‘30 Names 30 Planes’ competition.

ENGLAND's Civil Aviation Authority is enforcing legislation to make Aer Lingus, Wizz Air and Jet2 change their compensation policies to pay compensation for flights disrupted by "ordinary technical faults."

AIR FARES rose 7.1pc accroding to FRAPORT AG is to take over 14 the August 2015 Consumer Price Index .

BRITISH Airways’ B787-9 to offer an

Greek airports in a €1.23bn deal under bailout.

VIRGIN Australia launched a new business class seat it claims is “the world’s longest and widest fully lie-flat bed in domestic business class.”

Ryanair’s new uniforms were launched at the start of September

Striding ahead

economy seat that is wider by half an inch.

THOMSON Airways is planning over 20 new routes for summer 2016 including the airline’s first long-haul flights from Dublin to Cancun and Montego Bay. Thomson Airways carried 10.4m passengers in 2014.

SAS launched a hand-luggage only Go

Light fare structure on routes between Ireland and Scandinavia, offering tickets around €14 cheaper than SAS Go. Tickets can be rebooked within 24 hours, seats can be selected 22 hours before departure and there is complimentary tea and coffee on board. SAS Go Light passengers have the option to pay for access to SAS airport lounges and to take extra luggage for €25. Silver, Gold and Diamond members will be able to check in luggage at no additional cost.

IATA Tony Tyler is retiring as director of the International Air Transport Association after the IATA conference in Dublin June 1-3.

SHANNON Bank of Ireland Premier customers can now access Shannon Airport Executive Lounges with their black Premier Visa Debit Card. DUBLIN AIRPORT A long

awaited 25-year plan was circulated by Dublin Airport Authority to develop a 70-acre site into the new Airport City, though no planning permission or funding is yet in place. The DAA says “this is a 25-30 year project and if we delivered 60,000 sq metres of development in the first 10 years we would be doing well.”

CATHAY Media reports of a potential direct Cathay Pacific flights from Dublin toHong Kong are premature: the negotiations are depended on aircraft availability and Dublin initiatives such as increasing length of runway. Cathay Pacific launched a B777-300ER Dusseldorf service. TURKISH Roisín Ó Hea PR has won the Turkish Airlines contract.

R

Amsterdam heads Ryanair plans for winter

yanair have handed back five Amsterdam slots that had been destined for Stansted and will instead tulip their way more gently into Schiphol on October 27 with four daily flights to/from Dublin. New crew uniforms will follow in December, designed with the help of the staff. David O’Brien of Ryanair told Travel Extra in the margins of the launch event in the Gibson Hotel for Ryanair’s 2016 summer schedule: Amsterdam is unashamedly designed to serve the KLM network. We have no fear of going against KLM on price but we want to be sure that, if we are going in to one of the most expensive airports in Europe, we don’t go in with our eyes closed. Schiphol is reportedly a reluctant suitor for Ryanair and O’Brien felt the airport might be tempted to “mess them around”. Amsterdam will be Ryanair’s second major European hub airport after Madrid and the airline does not expect ANY Ryanair customers to connect into the AF/KLM network, as O’Brien said in reply to a question from Travel Extra at the press con-

D

ference. Aer Lingus serves Amsterdam five times a day so expect the much-anticipated winter war to be fought on this route. David O’Brien anticipated more competition, not just in Ireland but across Europe to keep fares down. Picture shows David O’Brien of Ryanair, Minister Paschal Donohoe and Kenny Jacobs of at the summer 2016 schedule in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. Ryanair will launch their new website and app on October 15 and will move their controversial opt out travel insurance option, from 'don’t

RYANAIR WINTER EXTRAS Alicante 2 daily, Amsterdam 4 daily, Barcelona 3 daily, Berlin 2 daily, Birmingham 6 daily, Brussels 3 daily, Budapest 9 weekly, East Midlands 2 daily, Liverpool 4 daily, London Gatwick 6 daily Madrid 3 daily, Malaga 3 daily, Manchester 6 daily Venice 5w Warsaw 1 daily

insure me’ cunningly located between Denmark and Estonia in a drop-down list of countries, to a more conspicuous location at top of the menu. But it will still require customers to opt out. O’Brien said that one in three of all European short haul passengers will be flying Ryanair. Ryanair will increase seat capacity for summer 2016 by 15pc and increase winter capacity further. David O’Brien says Ryanair winter seats used to run at 66pc of their summer levels at Dublin, in winter 2015-6 that will be up to 80pc. A cascade of new announcements from Ryanair this autumn include a hold the fare option to come in October with the new website, defibrillators in November (the new uniforms and interiors are due in December), on top of already-announced car hire partnership with Cartrawler, native app, new open-source passenger blogs, reduced sports fees, US website and their third GDS partner, Kenny Jacobs stressed that fares were at the core of the Ryanair mission. We set up as the good guys and we are still the good guys. “This is still the baby in the bathwater, what makes us special, low costs.”

REFURB FOR T1 FOOD COURT 

ublin airport T1’s new food court area opened in mid-Septembebr ending a seven month refurbishment of the shopping and food areas. “The feedback from the customers was that the

food offering was not what it should be and what they wanted,” Damian Flynn of DAA retail says. “The new area is a dedicated food court area designed for passengers after they have passed through the retail area. Two tempo-

rary concessions have gone in to set up and open and they are doing well. When people come through the shopping area they then hit the food. There is a facility for pop up offerings in the food court area. “When people

come through our stores,” they then hit the food. Refurbishment of the 300-pier will continue through the autumn. “It has been hectic in a really good way,” Flynn says.


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THE FLYING COLUMN

ANCILLARY Average ancillary rev-

enue per passenger is $17.49, up 8.5pc, according to a study sponsored by Bobby Healy’s CarTrawler. Sixty-three airlines participated in the study, with the low cost carriers being a 32.8pc jump in ancillary revenue to $2.9bn.

AER

Lingus Regional reported a 4pc YOY increase in load factor to 74pc for June. Passenger number on the Kerry-Dublin route was up 39pc and Donegal-Dublin up 11.3pc.

RUGBY A new statue at Shannon airport marks one of Irish sport’s most iconic moments: an image of Paul O’Connell being hoisted into the air by his Irish teammates Donncha O’Callaghan and John Hayes against England in 2007 is turned into a sculpture. SECURITY Undercover American

Philadelphia is likely to be Aer Lingus's next direct service from Ireland

Philly next for EI? P

Aer Lingus plans east coast expansion in USA

hiladelphia has emerged as a likely east coast destination for Aer Lingus in 2016, after a new round of negotiations with American airports. The former national carrier is expected to rejoin the Oneworld alliance following its buy-out by parent International Airlines Group, making Oneworld hubs like American’s Philadelphia, as well as Dallas and Miami. Aer Lingus are looking at fleet options as they prepare a yet-to-be-confirmed 4w route to launch in May to Los Angeles, Bradley International in Connecticut which comes with a €5m incentive, and widely touted Dallas. Newark and Miami are also considerations for the airline. American Airlines, formerly under the brand US Airways, already operates a year round A330 service to Philadelphia. According to CEO Stephen Kavanagh, who put Aer Lingus’s connections strategy in place over the past six years, Aer Lingus’s proposed

R

trans-Atlantic expansion will be “a combination of new points and increasing frequencies to moderate risk. For 2016 the airline is looking at California with a 50pc feed which presumably makes the Los Angeles route viable. Market acceptance of the third Dublin-JFK flight indicates the scope for more flights to the New York area whether JFK, Newark or somewhere new. Investors were told that increased Ireland-Florida frequencies are also being examined. Miami and Philadelphia were both examined by previous management but found to be unsustainable as point to point destinations. Aer Lingus Chief Revenue Officer Mike Rutter told Travel Extra that 30pc of Aer Lingus passengers come from “behind” Dublin on the Irish side, and 20pc beyond the gateway destinations on the American side. Aer Lingus aims to get Dublin to “within spitting distance” of the top five transatlantic connecting points in Europe.

Mike Rutter told an investor’s conference call that membership of the Oneworld Alliance will likely become more important in the coming years than existing joint ventures. New boarding and check-in processes are being finalised and staff are being trained up to improve service at 15 defined intervention points. The airline wants to improve short haul load factor by 10 points to 91pc, not far behind Ryanair levels. Aer Lingus are looking at more A330-300s and B757s before their A350 deliveries begin in 2018. The A330-300 is the preferred growth aircraft in size for the US east coast in the short-term. A fourth B757 aircraft is within the workforce agreements. The B757 is still seen as attractive, good and reliable and the ACMI operation is still relevant. No replacement will be required until the end of the decade when the A321LR will be available.

RYANAIR FARES DOWN BY 4pc

yanair reported at Q1 profit after tax up 25pc to €245m as passenger traffic grew by 16pc to 28m. Average fare was down 4pc to €45, due to the timing of Easter. Michael O’Leary plead with investors to avoid “irrational exuberance” as a reaction to an unplanned trading update, Ryanair said it now expects profits to be 25pc higher than previous guidance and

40pc up on last year, between €1.17bn and €1.22bn in the 12 month period to March. The share surge added €1.6bn to Ryanair’s market capitalisation. Ryanair planned to update shareholders on current trading at its AGM on Sept 24, but said July and August numbers are continuing into September. Ryanair cautioned that its full year result remains heavily dependent on close-in bookings in Q3

(currently 30pc sold) and Q4 (currently zero visibility). Ryanair increased its 2016 passenger target to 103m from 100m on the back of strong demand. It attributed the increase to its new customerfriendly approach and expansion at previously unserved airports. The group is increasing its fleet by 31 aircraft to 340 by the end of the year and said strong demand

meant it would be grounding 10 fewer aircraft this winter. In September it opens its sixth German base in Berlin where it has a 5% share of the German market and expects to grow this strongly over the next five years. Its second Swedish base in Gothenburg will also open in September. In November,

government agents, posing as passengers repeatedly snuck weapons through security checks at the country’s airports. Of the 70 times they tried to smuggle fake guns and bombs past TSA officials, it was claimed, they were successful on 67 occasions. Melvin Carraway, TSA’s acting chief resigned.

LAYER PLAYER

James McElvar, a singer with a boy-band called Rewind, passed out when he tried to wear 12 layers of clothing to avoid a £45 bag charge from London to Glasgow with Easyjet.

DERRY Ryanair’s Alicante and Faro

flights from Derry ended amid speculation they will not return in 2016.

AVIANCA Brasil joined the Star Al-

BRITISH British Airways confirmed

liance network.

JFK international airport is building a $48m animal terminal called the Ark. they are ending London to Entebbe.

AIR KENYA suspended operations in Keekorok airfield in Masai Mara.

AMERICAN Airlines announced that it will add eight routed throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America later this year.

EMIRATES resumes a 4w A330-200 service to Erbil, Iraq from August 15.

RYANAIR will begin flying to Eilat in southern Israel in November its first ever Middle Eastern connection.from three points in eastern Europe.

TEL AVIV is likely to get direct services

AER RIANTA International opened The Loop duty free shopping area at Auckland International. from Dublin in 2016.

VIRGIN Atlantic has said it will return to Belfast International for another four flights to Orlando, Florida, next year.

RYANAIR will move its single Copenhagen based aircraft to Kaunas from July 14, following what it calls a bizarre Danish Labour Court ruling allowing competitor airline unions to blockade Ryanair’s Copenhagen aircraft.


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€ €

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 32

THE FLYING COLUMN

VEGAS There was deserved praise this

Aviation with Gerry O’Hare

month for Ian Callaghan, the Bellewstown Co Meath, co-pilot of the firestruck BA2276 which spectacularly caught flames on the runway of McCarran airport. Two of the 172 passengers who were successfully evacuated were from Ireland, Wayne McGuinness from Drogheda in Co Louth, and Grace Monks from Stamullen in Co Meath. Passengers were criticised for taking their hand luggage with them as they left the burning plane.

ETIHAD Airways introduced a new fares

structure and baggage allowance policy from September 14 with eight fare types: economy breaking deals, economy saver, economy value and economy freedom; business breaking deals, business saver and business freedom and baggage reduced to 45 x 72 x 90cm. On flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, the allowance for passengers flying in economy will be two Rebranded Avro: Cityjet are looking to two suppliers to replace its fleet bags weighing up to 23kg, business and first are allowed two bags up to 32 kg each.

STOBART Air signed a deal with Flybe to operate a number of flights out of the Isle of Man. QATAR Airways selected AeroDocs by

AUSTRIAN Airlines appointed CarTrawler as exclusive car rental partner.

Cityjet’s new fleet

Dublin-based Arconics as its CDMS.

MALAYSIA Airlines signed an agree-

ment to lease four A350-900s, to be delivered between Q4 2017 and Q2 2018.

US passenger rights group Flyers Rights

wants to ban airlines from further reducing the size of seats and legroom on aircraft.

PASSENGERS departing from Dubai will be able to complete check-in on their way to the airport as part of a new service by Dubai Taxis and Dubai Airports. ETIHAD and Abu Dhabi’s Ministry of environment and water hosted two days of workshops on combatting illegal wildlife smuggling.

FLYBE will wet lease two ART72s from

T

Sukhoi not yet certified for London City Airport

he first Sukhoi Superjet 100 to be used by an Irish airline or at London City airport is an intriguing prospect as Cityjet finalises its fleet acquisition programme. As the airline unveiled what founder and returned chair Pat Byrne called new image and new standards, and a prelude to the new fleet. Byrne said he will order for 15 aircraft in the just-under-100-seat category in the coming weeks (not months, he stressed), under US style contract purchase agreements. The range of the aircraft would open up Greek and Turkish destinations and could reach Moscow if required. He said it will NOT be a turboprop, and Embraer

and Superjet are contenders: “Mistubishi’s not there yet, Bombardier with the C-series has not arrived yet and is too long term for us”. Earlier this year Hans Rudolf Wöhrl of Cityjet’s parent Intro Aviation said Sukhoi had not yet provided evidence of suitability for London City. “The just under 100” passenger requirement falls midway between the Embraer E175 and E-190. Pat Byrne explained the inside-out rebrand for Travel Extra TV, in which he says that the livery was signed inhouse, as were the new uniforms to be introduced at year-end. A new TV Ad featuring cabin crew members Cheryl Downes, Ciara

Burke and Elodie Montaque will air to drive Cityjet’s quest to look beyond its traditional business market (slogan: Fly like a star whoever you are). At the launch event in the RDS, Pat Byrne claimed in a podium interview with Newstalk’s Vincent Wall that passenger numbers are up 40pc, load factor has increased from 54pc to 74pc and 90pc on some routes this summer. A rebrand event organised by Martina McDermott cost €60,000, a steal compared with most aviation launches and the €90,000 it costs to repaint an aircraft.

VIRGIN America is offering Texas frequent flyers free Uber rides out of Dallas Love Field Airport. Stobart Air.

AER LINGUS ground handling is

losing Etihad to Swissport in October but is likely to gain prospective Oneworld partners American Airlines.

ROUTES Both Cork and Shannon air-

port (last year’s winners) were shortlisted for the global marketing award for airports under 4m passengers at this year’s World Routes Marketing Awards ceremony on September 21st in Durban. Picture shows Shannon airport’s Declan Power receiving last year’s award at Routes in Las Vegas.

COMPLAINTS The latest consumer report from the US Department of Transportation, says airline complaints are up 20pc in the first half of the year.

Pat Byrne of Cityjet and Minister Paschal Donohoe announcing the rebrand


Page 033 Kerry by Conor 15/09/2015 11:41 Page 1

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 33

DESTINATION IRELAND really do have to come here taste their products yourself. It’s worth the journey. “How much do you know about Fungie?” Bridget Flannery asks me as we pull away from Dingle pier, her husband Jimmy at the helm. “It’s a bit like the national anthem,” I say. “I know enough to get me by.”

I

am wearing a wetsuit for only the second time in my life, but I feel ready to conquer the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard. The reason for my confidence? My companion for the afternoon is former pro windsurfer Jamie Knox. He has been teaching awkward punters like me watersports in Castlegregory for 25 years. He is on-hand to feed me compliments throughout our two-hour session. He makes me feel like I’m James Bond, gliding out to sea. In reality, I am more like Inspector Gadget, clumsily splishsplashing in the water. The point is, he keeps me moving, he keeps me motivated, and makes me feel like I am really doing something worthwhile. It’s easy to see why he has a high return rate. Stand-up paddleboarding is easy to get the hang of, so it’s perfect for children. And it’s safe, something Jamie clearly prides himself on seeing as he gets a lot of business from families. “Everything is controlled and in a safe environment,” he says. It’s obvious that water safety is paramount for Jamie and his team, but the rules don’t spoil the experience. There are activities for all ages and abilities, so nobody gets left out and nobody is put in a situation that they can’t handle. Back on land, I feel re-

F Jamie Knox teaches watersports in Castlegregory freshed and I am badly in need of sustenance. Luckily, Kerry is home to some of Ireland’s best food experiences, two of which I can find back in my hotel, Ballygarry House in Tralee. Last night, I ate a mighty four-course meal in the Brooks Restaurant. Tonight, I dine across the corridor in the Leebrook Lounge. Both menus, though distinct, complement Ballygarry House’s high-end, four star experience. A family-run country hotel with a modern twist, Ballygarry House is all about attention to detail.

The staff’s little touches and observations make the visitor experience seamless — it’s a trait that comes with having a fourth-generation proprietor for a manager. Located just off the N21 and surrounded by the Slieve Mish Mountains, Ballygarry House is in a good spot for visitors on the Wild Atlantic Way, and their Nádúr spa offers a range of unique experiences. Last month, the hotel launched its Wild About Kerry brochure and packages, capturing little gems this end of the route.

Clockwise: Eamon Dowd at Dingle distillery,Abi Dillon collects shards of sea glass to make jewellery. windsurfing and a famous dolphin

G

rainne Kavanagh of the Coach House interior design shop literally introduces me to Dingle’s little gems when she takes me on a whistle stop tour of the Kerry Craft Trail. There is a diverse range of products and artwork on the route, from the leather-bound notebooks at Holden Leather Goods, to the scarves at Fiadh Handwoven Design, to Lisa McIntyre’s papier mache sculptures. Everything is distinctly Dingle and comes with a story. Sandra Cremin’s ecofriendly, soy-based Dingle Candles and scented sachets are inspired by the mountains and changeable weather — fragrance number one, my favourite, is Dingle Rain. Goldsmith Niamh Utsch also sources her inspiration from the landscape, which can change dramatically. It has an impact on Utsch’s creativity and mood, leading to a range of pieces that can be intricate and complicated or very simple. Jewellery maker Abi Dillon, the latest addition to the craft trail, sources

her raw materials from the sea. She collects shards of glass that wash up on the shore and turns them into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The pieces are made up of complementary greens and blues, frosted by the sea. They are precious — they really are something else. My next stop is Dingle Distillery for a tour with Eamon Dowd and Gillian Sheehy, and for quick a drop of Dingle Original Gin. The whiskey isn’t quite ready yet — the first batch will roll out next year. Artisanal alcohol is definitely trending and the Porterhouse Brewing Company, the parent of Dingle Distillery, helped shape the independent brewing movement in Ireland. The first thing you notice is the delicious aromas. It’s enough to get the group salivating. But patience is key in the art of distillery, so we have to control ourselves as we make our way along the production line, watching the magic slowly happen. The distillery is a modest affair — the output is two casks a day — so you

ungie the Bottlenose dolphin is synonymous with Dingle tourism. He gave the town a much-needed boost 30 years and has been a big contribution to the local trade ever since. I was hoping to solve the mystery of Fungie’s attachment to the town’s harbour, but I had no luck. There are plenty of theories — he has little competition for fish, he loves the human interaction, the waters are more accommodating — but nobody really knows why he has stayed here for so long. One thing I did learn was that he works overtime — even long after the last tour, he made an appearance for Travel Extra. And what an exciting moment that was. Jimmy uses a number of techniques to tap into Fungie’s sonar and nine times out of ten, he pops up to say hello. It’s rare that he doesn’t make an appearance. The Dingle Dolphin Tour payment model is no Fungie, no fee, and it has kept them in business for three decades. They have a saying in Kerry: “Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.” We live in each other’s shadows. It resonates throughout the Kingdom’s tourism trade. There is a sense of camaraderie, of commitment to their business. It is a motto for any budding tourism co-op.


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GLOBAL VILLAGE the travel trade bade farewell to Adrian Hopkins, larger than life owner of Bray Travel, first famed for the bachanallian parties he hosted in Bray during the 1970s and 1980s and then for other, more serious matters. He grew his company rapidly to a turnover of £7m, holding 20pc of the Irish holiday business and 35pc of the Canaries business. Bray Travel collapsed just before Christmas 1980, stranding 1,000 holiday makers in the Canaries and leaving thousands more who had prepaid their holiday, some of them hours before the collapse, out of pocket. More than £340,000 in cash and cheques went missing and as a result of the furore a voluntary bonding system was introduced by the Irish travel trade, evolving to an official regulatory scheme. Adrian went on to become the captain of vessels that smuggled five shiploads of arms from Libya to Ireland.

CARTRAWLER ‘s 2015 Car-

Trawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue offers a list of the a la carte items sold through Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport for each of the 63 disclosing airlines.

New fontersas for the irish Travel Agents Association in Jerez

The Jerez air

LIMERICK TRAVEL signed up

for a new Dolphin back-office system to manage its sun, ski, golf, honeymoon, over 50s, groups, corporate, conference and incentive programmes. Dolphin says it has replaced two legacy systems deployed across it various business divisions with a single technology solution, automating pricing while a robotic scheduling tool automatically generates itineraries, invoices and reports. Peter Brazil said, "as we operate a mix of business across multiple travel sectors we needed a flexible technology platform, we chose Dolphin due its modular design."

WORLDCHOICE trade partner

and member event " be inspired" will take place on the 12th of December in City West.

SOUTH AFRICA is stepping up its activity with the Irish trade and has scheduled two fam trips for the Irish market in the autumn of 2015 and spring of 2016 with tour operator Sunway and the Travel Centres consortium.

CLUB ROYAL There are now 525 club travel agent members of the Royal Club in Ireland and 6,000 overall, according to Royal Caribbean's Ben Bouldin, due to rise to 8,000 at year end

TRAVEL CENTRES conference takes place at the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny, December 4th & 5th SABRE Airline executive Sean Menke

was appointed executive VP of Sabre Corp and president of Sabre Travel Network.

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS appointed Caitriona Kelleher to head office in Cork to support admin and recruitment.

ONLINE A survey from Webloyalty showed 74pc of Irish holidaymakers who used offline sources for research, then go on a website to book their holiday.

Direct charter to Irish Travel Agents Conference

Agents will travel by private charter to Jerez on October 1, returning on October 4. Entertainment will include the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre (Equestrian School) and Horse Show Como ■ 1030 Stephen McKenna (technology), Bailan los Caballos An■ 1055 Juan Cullen (validating your next idea), daluces. Dinner will be ■ 1145 Sheila O’Malley (work life balance), at the Carriage Museum ■ 1330 Aer Lingus, - located in an early ■ 1345 Liam Lonergan (staying ahead) ■ 1430 Alan O’Neill (succession management) 19th century winery.

T

he programme for the ITAA Conference in Jerez October 1-3 has been finalised:.

JEREZ TU?

I

SPANISH AWARD FOR IRISH TRAVEL TRADE

TAA CEO Pat Dawson;s award of the Medal of the Order or Civil Merit later this year at a ceremony hosted by the Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, José María Rodríguez-Coso is to take place at the end of October.. Pat Dawson is the first to be awarded the honour in recognition of the services by the Irish travel industry/ The order recognises “the civic virtue of officers in the service of the Nation, as well as extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain”. Mr Dawson will be presented the accolade in recognition of his valuable work towards strengthening relations between Ireland and Spain, particularly in the area of Tourism. Pat Dawson said, “I am delighted and honoured to be selected to receive the Medal of the Order of Civil Merit. Spain and Ireland have been

important partners in Tourism for many years and I have always considered it a pleasure to foster this important relationship. I am supremely appreciative and humbled to be acknowledged in this way.” The Order of Civil Merit was established by King Alfonso XIII in 1926. Gonzalo Ceballos, Director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Dublin said, “Pat is extremely deserving of this honour and I am delighted that his tremendous work in building trade relations between Ireland and Spain has been recognised by King Felipe VI. This award is a symbol of Spain’s appreciation of Pat and his role in nurturing the bond between our two nations, particularly in relation to tourism.” Pat Dawson founded Cork based travel agency Dawson Travel in 1991.

Excursion options include the El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz, karting at the Formula 1 Circuit. The gala dinner takes place among the Cloisters of Santo Domingo, Two post-fam options take in Baelo Claudia, Bolonia, Chipiona lighthouse, Conil de la Frontera, Doñana National Park, Rota town, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Tarifa, whale watching in the Straights of Gibraltar and Vejer de la Frontera.

Pat Dawson For many years Mr Dawson served on the ITAA board before being appointed President in 2011, he was then appointed CEO in 2012 and has since held this role. Previous awards have been made to Irish travel trade representatives, Jim Furlong of Sunway, Tony Collins of Topflight and George Barter.


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GLOBAL VILLAGE

CITYJET Speaking at the Cityjet re-

brand event in Dublin Airport, Graham Aldren (said the trade can expect continued support from Cityjet and would be remain important to the airline).

HERTZ is giving agents the chance to win one of two weekly €50 prepaid MasterCards, September to November. To enter, make a booking with Hertz for the USA and email the booking reference to traveltrade@hertz.ie. EMIRATES Lisa Rabbitte, Lynsey Lamont and Helena Sweeney have joined the Emirates sales team in Ireland.

DUBAI Tourism hosted a trade lunch in Ely Wine Bar, Dublin. Ian Scott reported 28,000 Irish visitors in H1 2015, up 15pc YOY in May and up 13pc Cassidy travel team celebrating their 30th birthday on board MSC Splendida: Katrice Canning, Brenda Ryan, Cathy Corr, Suzanne Reynolds, Vanessa O’Connor, John Spollen, Brenda Quirke, Sandra Mooney, Carla Lawlor, Ann Marie Durcan, Ann Carroll, Shirley Webster, Lisa Cunningham, August 29 2015

Cassidy’s at 30

C

John Spollen commences group’s celebrations

assidy Travel started their 30th anniversary celebrations at an event on board MSC Splendida wher theyw ere hosted by rebecca Kelly. “It has been thirty years of immense changes in technology, in travel patterns and business trips, with business ups and downs. But in a way nothing has changed.”

“We now have 90 staff and eight travel shops as well as thriving divisions of Cassidy golf and our luxury brand Classic resorts. Our travel shops are performing well this year and the company continues to grow.” Cruising is a good felling too as it gives you a sense of real luxury along with soft adventure.” “There is still a role for the travel

specialist delivering top quality service in this brave new digital world we are all part of. We are here because we have excellent and knowledgeable people managers and staff with the right systems and the tools.” “We are happy people. We managed to grow Cassidy travel through every recession, including the last and the worst one.”

OPENING PANDORA’S PACKAGE

C

ould someone with a Bulgarian tour operator’s licences be allowed to trade in Ireland? That was one of the subjects that excited Irish Travel Agents Association members who attended a seminar on the implications of the Package Holiday Directive. The Directive is (rather ambitiously) designed to give the same protection to consumers from online Package Holiday bookings as they have Directive seminar through the formal travel repatriation fund that now trade. totals €50m. Ireland’s bonding regime Under the new regime is one of the most stringent airlines and websites, curin the EU, requiring 10pc rently unbonded, will have of turnover by tour opera- to adhere to the same regutors and 4pc of travel agent lations. turnover to be tied up in a

Consumers who click through on an airline website to a hotel or car hire company are effectively buying a package and entitled to the same protection and compensation levels, including repatriation, compensation for the failure oaf a third party firm and a cooling off period. Domain owners will also be responsible for three days' cover in the eventuality of a major disruption such as the ash crisis. Travel Agent and Tour Operator licenses will be valid in all EU countries, so there will be no need to take out separate licenses in 28 member states, effectively opening up Ireland to foreign travel companies. Currently those agents

who want to operate across the border need to take out two licenses. Many of the regimes have loose regulatory regimes, with many only requiring tour operators to hold licenses and local tourist boards licensing the travel agencies. Delegates heard that the licensing change will have big implications for the trade in Ireland. As the directive will take two years to come into law airlines are likely to try get out clauses in advance. The ITAA say it is about time we had a level playing pitch, which is on the horizon and they will push this in ECTAA.

SILVERSEA is offering agents the

chance to win one of six places on a 9-night trip to Hong Kong with 2 nights accommodation in the Intercontinental hotel, return flights with British Airways, a tour of the city and a four-course meal on the Silver Shadow. To enter, make a confirmed booking on any 2016 before October 16 and email salesuk@silversea.com.

SICILY Irish trade delegates attended a

workshop in Central Sicily and participated in a workshop at the Frederico Ii hotel in Enna and were given tours of Enna, Caltagirone, Villa Romano Del Casale in Piazza Armerina, the museum of Adrione and Tenuta del Nanfro winery. On of the guests, Concezio Natale said Best Holidays in Italy have added the cultural part of Sicily to their programme.

CLUB MED

and Sunway hosted agents at an event in the Dylan hotel, Eastmoreland Place, Dublin. Club Med also hosted a press lunch in the same venue. Phil Shipman presented a number of products, including the Cirque du Soleil circus school at Punta Cana, Finolhu adults only villas and renovations at Cancun Yucata.

MSC Cruises held their summer party at Söder + Ko “Scandinasian” restaurant and bar on South Great George’s Street. Picture shows Rebecca Kelly of MSC Cruises with Ross Waters, Tracy McLoughlin, Ronanna Sindlerova and Daniel McCluskey, all Cruise Holidays

BA British Airways is offering agents the chance to upgrade customers to First one-way on eligible Club World return fares booked until September 30 for departures until December 31. FREEDOM TRAVEL Ciara

Mooney of Freedom Travel has opened her new booth in the Tesco shopping centre in Naas, the second largest Tesco on the island.

CARTRAWLER appointed Patrick

Kennedy deputy governor of BoI and former Paddy Power chief, as non-executive chairman.

TRAVELPORT signed Air Iceland up to its Rich Content and Branding.

ADRIAN HOPKINS Members of

€ €


Page 036 window seat 15/09/2015 11:40 Page 1

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 36

WINDOW SEAT

Last month in numbers

€1,220,000m Ryanair revised guidance

£25m Price Aer Lingus bid for Ryanair in 1993. 24.9m Projected passengers through Dublin of anticipated profits to year ending next March

10.4m Number of passengers Ryanair carried in August, busiest month in its 30 year history.

airport, if 15pc increase is sustained for H2 of 2015

€1.2m Capital funding available for projects along Ireland’s Ancient East

326,000 Number of passngers who travelled 22 Number of galleries in Dublin Epic the new

wvery day with Ryanair over 12 weeks of summer

7.1pc Rise in air fares over past twelve months. visitor centre to open in May,

Every month we ask a leading travel professional to write about their personal holiday experience. This month: Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of ITIC

I

was a lucky kid. My mother owned a successful travel and tourism business, O’Mara Travel, and it held the franchise for Club Med holidays. Each year I spent summer holidays in places that were just as exotic as they sounded: Paradise Island, Gregolimano, Marrakech, Opio en Provence, Cancun. To add to that for 5 years in the ‘80s my mother was a Director of Aer Lingus so on top of my Club Med experiences throw in city-breaks to US and Europe - yes I was truly spoiled! I still love travel and get away as much as is possible – my wife and I are recently back from fabulous Vietnam. It’s a cliché but true nonetheless: travel does broaden the mind. To see different cultures, taste new foods, enjoy extraordinary sights, and experience another’s heritage – it all can only do a human good. While it’s great to enjoy what other countries have to offer we can some-

W

SEASONAL SLOPE SAVVY

here to Ski and Snowboard 2016 celebrates its 21st birthday and has 24 new ski resorts. The book was launched in 1994 by Chris Gill and Dave Watts, when it set new standards of comprehensive coverage, detailed information and clear design. This year’s edition has news of major developments that create the biggest ski areas in Austria and the USA, plus eight completely new chapters covering 24 extra resorts, from Alpbach in Austria and Arosa in Switzerland to Steamboat in the USA and Valmorel in France. In 2016, it has no competitors in

print, and offers famuosly reliable appraisals of all the resorts you are likely to want to consider, supported as ever by carefully chosen photos, specially prepared piste maps, scale village plans, key mountain facts, lift pass details, recommended hotels, bars and restaurant. The book is designed for those who know their powder rather than the beginner or intermediate, and has more emphasis on the chalet and hotel market than those seeking a

T

self catering break. Calculations based on exchange rates by the guide’s Resort Price Index figures suggests costs in Swiss ski resorts are likely to be around 50pc more than in the eurozone, and in US resorts about double the eurozone costs. Where to Ski and Snowboard 2016 is published by NortonWood in bookshops or online at discount www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com

Busman’s holiday: Eoghan O’Mara Walsh

Clare Island as painted by Eoghan’s father times forget what is on our own doorstep. If you asked me my favourite holiday spot now I’d plump for somewhere closer to home and the lovely county of Mayo. Westport is where my father hailed from and we now enjoy holidays in Louisburgh 10 miles further west by Clew Bay. It really is a wonderful place; both exhilarating

and relaxing, thrilling and spiritual. Before the Wild Atlantic Way brand was ever even thought of that coastline around Westport boasted everything; glorious beaches, pubs with character, great local food, Clare Island and Clew Bay, and all looked down upon by majestic Croagh Patrick - what more could you ask for.

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK he stir that Lufthansa created when it announced that it would charge an extra €16 to customers who book flights through GDS has created a backlash against more than teh airline. The German airline argues that the fee simply compensates for the amount it must pay these thirdparty agents. Other airlines could conceivably follow suit. A consortium of business-travel agencies announced a “period of

BOOKS: Where to Ski and Snowboard 2016 (NortonWood)

non-co-operation” with the airline, which will include restrictions on training and marketing. They hope ustomers are likely to react with their wallets. Flyers accustomed to booking on Expedia won’t suddenly stop using the service because one airline has become more expensive on it; they’ll just use another airline. Elsewhere hotels are fighting Expedia’s proposed $1.3bn merger with Orbitz to make Expedia,

which has already acquired Travelocity and Wotif by a long way the third-party online-booking leader. They would command threequarters of the biggest travel market in the world, the USA. Hotels fear that this would give the company too much power and are offering perks to customers who book with them directly, including free meals, expedited check-in and the ability to select their rooms in advance. This one will run.

My father, who was a painter, regularly caught these scenes with his brush or crayon and if you get the bonus of sunny weather sure where else in the world would you want to be?

IN YOUR NEXT TRAVEL EXTRA: Available to Travel Agents or online October 19 2015

CRUISE ISSUE Ships 2016 big and small NEXT UP FOR ROYAL Picks of the packages


Page 037-038 pics 15/09/2015 09:49 Page 1

Out and about with the Travel Trade

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 37

MEETING PLACE

n pes with Natalie Sexto Alan Lynch of Cruisesca on nt eve Silversea Cruise of Silversea Cruises at blin Du in ud Clo board Silver

Alan and Audrey Kelly from Castlehamilton Es- Michaela Banks and Jenny Rafter of Ro yal tate in Cavan with Rosemary Atangana of B&B Caribbean at the launch of the jumponb oard Ireland and Rosendo Castellanos of Tourism Ire- campaign land at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient.

Rebecca Kelly of MSC and John Spollen of Ca ssidy Travel on board MS C Splendida in Dublin

Irish Holly Wilkinson, Jenny Rafter nd Michaela Banks Stephen McNally of Dalata, President of the at A Paul O'Kane of DA at the launch of the Royal Caribbean JumponHotels Federation and Rose of Tralee Festival the board sales mission g rin The Rose Ball du

EtiBeatrice Cosgrove of Louise Wheatley and siRe e Th in nt eve tihad had at the Abu Dhabi/E dence Dublin

Brian Skehan and Nic Rebecca Dunne of Travel Broker with Mary holas Butterfield of the IAA at the Irish Aviation Autho Downes and Sandra Mooney of Cassidy's Travel rity drones event in We sto n, on board Silver Cloud

Linda Macken and Ca therine Grennell White of ATTS on the Europe Air post/ASL Aviation Fra nce flight from Dublin to Ha lifax

Sarah Barnett and Polly Beech of Brand USA with Emily Taylor of Visit California at the Visit California event

h lata, President of the Iris Evelyn and Steve Cronley, co-ordinators, at the Stephen McNally of Da ess inn Gu of rty Rose of Tralee Festival A Paul Ca Hotels Federation and se Ball in Tralee Ro e Th at se ou reh Sto

Corbie Smith of Visit Na pa and Deleyse Langdale of Sonoma county at the Visit California event

Anthony O'Gara CEO of the Rose of Tralee Festival and Oonagh O'Gara at The Rose Ball during teh 2015 Rose of Tralee Festival

y of vel and Michelle Harle Lisa Doohan of MD Tra ise Cru sea ver Sil the Tully’s Travel Carlow at Cloud ver Sil ard bo on nt eve

Minister Paschal Dono hoe and Aiden Murphy of Crowe Horwath at the launch of the Crowe Ho rwath hotels report

y Travel and Mary Saun Richard Cullen of Killine it Vis the at B CV ls ly Hil ders de Hoyos of Bever nt eve a rni lifo Ca


Page 037-038 pics 15/09/2015 09:49 Page 2

OCTOBER 2015 PAGE 38

MEETING PLACE

Out and about with the Travel Trade

da McCorry of Silversea Amanda Middler and Lin Sharon Jordan and Caroline Calvert at the InCruise event on board cruises at the Silversea sight Vacations Conference in Venice Silver Cloud in Dubli

Rachel Lehane and Jes sica O'Rourke winners of the DAA competition on the Europe Airpost/ASL Aviation France flight from Dublin to Halifax

of C and Patricia Kenny Rachel Dempsey of WT on nt eve ise Cru sea Map Travel at the Silver board Silver Cloud

Mary Jones, Rosemary O’Connell and Siobhan Dinneen of Lee Travel at The Travel Corporat ion appreciation BBQ in Co rk

ienne Brilly of Skytours Competition winner Viv Lowcost Beds and Grainne Caffrey of

Ashlee Ciora of Greater Palm Springs and Jen Trupiano of visit Santa Barbara at the Visit Ca lifornia event

Erica O'Reilly of King Travel, Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel and Ca rmel Aylward of King Tra vel at the Silverseas Cruise event on Silver Cloud

trina Carmel Aylward and Erica O'Reilly of King Travel Gabrielle Kennedy of Travel Broker and Ka sea ver vel at the Sil at the Silversea Cruise event on board Silver McMullan of Navan Tra ver Cloud Sil Cloud in Dublin ard bo on nt Cruise eve

Canon Horace McKinley from StPatrick's Cathe- Nisha Tandon, Onur Gul from Turkish Airlines and Thady Graham cee dral, Orla Carroll of Failte Ireland, Minister brating Mela due to be he ld in Belfast’s Botanic Paschal Donohoe and Andrew Smith at the Gardens launch of th Cathedral's new discovery space

Mary Kennedy presenter of RTE Natonwide and Bob Gillan of DJI, Tim McCarthy of NUI at Stephen McNally of Dalata, President of the Irish Maynooth and Colm ó Cuilleanáin of Verifly n sto We Hotels Federation, at The Rose of Tralee Festival the Irish Aviation Authority event in

Cynthia Schmitt of Citadel Outlets, Dean Jacobberger of Visit California and Tim Zahner of Sonoma Valley at the Visit California event

Linda McCorry of Silver sea with Matt Tarrant an d Joanne Coll of the Tra vel Department at the Silversea Cruise event on board Silver Cloud in

Sheena Dignam conducting Galway Food Tours with Orla Higgins of Galway Arts Festival

m Travel and Cira Foley Austin Carroll of Platinu Visit California event chair of Visit USA at the


page 039-040 14/09/2015 15:35 Page 1

Featuring:

Wedding & Honeymoon Destinations at Home and Abroad

Date for your diary:

YOUR TRADE DAY Friday 22nd January, 2016 VENUE

RDS Simmonscourt | Simmonscourt Road Ballsbridge | Dublin 4

EXHIBIT

Please contact Maureen Ledwith, Sales Director t: + 353 (0)1 291 3700 e: maureen@bizex.ie

To find out more log on to:

www.holidayworldshow.com

DUBLIN

HOLIDAY WORLD 2016 SHOW DATES RDS SIMMONSCOURT

Fri Fri Sat Sun

Jan Jan Jan Jan

22nd 22nd 23rd 24th

10am 1 pm 11am 11am

-

1pm 7pm 5.30pm 5.30pm

Trade Trade Trade Trade

Only and Public and Public and Public

BELFAST

HOLIDAY WORLD 2016 SHOW DATES TITANIC EXHIBITION CENTRE

Fri Jan 15th Sat Jan 16th Sun Jan 17th

1 pm - 6 pm Trade and Public 11am - 5.30pm Trade and Public 11am - 5.30pm Trade and Public


page 039-040 14/09/2015 15:35 Page 2

Lifestyle & Living for the over 50’s

e g a l l i V

TITANIC EXHIBITION CENTRE TITANIC QUARTER - BELFAST BT3 9EP

15th/17th January 2016

The Belfast Telegraph 50+Village will be staged

alongside the highly successful Holiday World Show, entering its 24th year and firmly established as one of the BIGGEST and BEST attended public exhibitions in Northern Ireland

• • • • • •

Featuring:

Fashion & Beauty Food & Drink Genealogy Government Information Services Health & Wellbeing Holidays & Travel

• • • •

Home & Garden Hotels & Spas Personal Finance & Law Retirement Villages & Resorts • Technology

WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH 50+VILLAGE • Estimated 80% of the country’s wealth is held by people aged 50+ (The Henley Centre)

• 31.7% (or 574,000) of the Northern Ireland population are 50+ (Northern Ireland population census) • 62% of Belfast Telegraph readers are 50+

• As a group they are more likely to have substantial assets, cash and the time to enjoy life. Whilst they are less likely to have any mortgages, school fees and 9 to 5 jobs. To exhibit please contact

Maureen Ledwith Sales Director +353 (0)1 291 3700 e: maureen@bizex.ie

Paulette Moran Sales Manager +353 (0)1 291 3702 e: paulette@bizex.ie

Profile for Travel Extra

Travel extra oct 2015 5megs  

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