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Agents Visit Istanbul with Royal Caribbean and Turkish Airlines

Agents Visit Istanbul with Royal Caribbean and Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines and Royal Caribbean International co-hosted a most interesting and informative trip to Istanbul last week – and it really was an educational visit highlighting the history and culture of the city. For some agents it was their first time flying with Turkish Airlines and they were not disappointed with the free baggage allowance of 30kg per passenger together with a free bar and a real high-quality airline meal.

The lobby of the Rixos Pera Istanbul Hotel.

Lobby of the Rixos Pera Istanbul Hotel

The group stayed at the Rixos Pera Istanbul Hotel. Well located in the Pera district, this is truly luxurious accommodation with rooms well furnished with all the needed amenities. Breakfast was served in the rooftop restaurant with truly spectacular views over the city. Add a secluded courtyard complete with bar and a fine spa, which all of the agents enjoyed.

The agents visit the Turkish Airlines flight training centre and the agents viewed flight crew in training

Agents visited the Turkish Airlines flight training centre and  viewed flight crew in training

The visit to the Turkish Airlines flight training centre to see flight crew in training was most impressive. Incidentally  the airline now has 17 Irish pilots.

Flight crew undergoing training.

Flight crew undergoing training

Next it was off to see the airline’s catering centre that is operated by Turkish Do&Co. This company was established in 2007 as a 50/50 joint venture between Do&Co and Turkish Airlines and produces more than 65 million meals per annum for 60 airlines. Since they took over responsibility the customer satisfaction has increased from 49% to the current 96%. They cater for between 500 to 650 take-offs per day.

Sampling the catering in the Do&Co centre.

Sampling the catering in the Do&Co catering centre

Part of the joint vision is to ensure that Turkish Airlines becomes one of the leading quality airlines of the world by using hospitality and onboard service as a marketing advantage.

Onur Gull ,complete with white coat was in the Do&Co catering centre.

Onur Gul, Turkish Airlines, complete with white coat in the Do&Co catering centre

The group at the Do&Co catering centre.

Irish group at the Do&Co catering centre

Istanbul has so much to offer the visitor both from a historical and cultural perspective and the agents were given a fantastic range of visits to Sultanahmet, ‘the old city of Istanbul’, a walking tour taking in the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, the German Fountain, the magnificent Hagia Sophia and Tokapi Palace. Hagia Sofia is now the most visited monument in the world.

Istanbul by night

Istanbul by night

No trip would be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar so some retail therapy was availed of by many of the group.

Travel Counsellor Phyllis Walters said: “A big thank you to Onur… you are so passionate and proud of your product, you looked after us so well and nothing was too much trouble for you. Jenny, you are a credit to RCCL and such a  great person. I really enjoyed the Rhapsody of the Seas visit and all the effort and information you gave us… and dinner in Giovanni’s Table was super.”

The Northern Ireland agents,Peter johnson-Knock Travel,Sarah Cunningham-Dunlop Trael and Brian Gillespie-Oasis Travel.

Northern Ireland agents Peter Johnson, Knock Travel; Sarah Cunningham, Dunlop Travel; and Brian Gillespie, Oasis Travel

Rhapsody of the Seas, a Vision class ship from Royal Caribbean International was in port so led by Jenny Rafter the agents were invited for a shipboard visit including dinner onboard. Giovanni’s  Table,one of the speciality restaurants on the ship, was the venue where a fine Italian menu was on offer.

Dining on-board Giovannis were Norma Tolefe-WTC,Phyllis Walters-Travel Counsellor,

Dining onboard in  Giovanni’s Table were Norma Tolefe, WTC; Phyllis Walters, Travel Counsellors; Sarah Cunningham, Dunlop Travel; Gokhan Kaya, Agne Tours; Havva Yilmaz, Minstry of Tourism; Deborah Murray, Keith Prowse; Michelle Savage, Lee Travel; Emer Thomas, SHGI; and Mary King, Travelsavers

Emer Thomas, SHGI, said: “I will be chatting with my sales teams on Wednesday and giving them all the super pointers I picked up.”

Jenny Rafter-RCI,

Onur Gul, Turkish Airlines; Jenny Rafter, Royal Caribbean International; Lisa Mary Croke, Marble City Travel; Jacqueline Clynch, BookaBed; Peter Johnson, Knock Travel; Brian Gillespie, Oasis Travel; and Linda Byrne, Strand Travel

The highlight here was the impromptu music played by a very talented flautist, Marla from the Philippines.

Marla entertains the agents in Giovanni s Table.

Marla entertains the agents in Giovanni’s Table

Mary King, Travelsavers, said: “I was delighted to have been invited on a three-night trip to Istanbul hosted by Agne Tours, Turkish Airlines and Royal Caribbean. It was a great few days packed full of culture and information and as I had never been to Istanbul it was a great revelation. From flying with the wonderful Turkish Airlines and visiting the Rhapsody of the Seas with a mosque, two palaces, Turkish Airlines’ Flight Centre, a boat trip, and museums among the sightseeing we saw and did loads. A very worthwhile trip with a lovely bunch of people from our wonderful travel trade!”

Mary King from Travel Savers

Mary King , Travelsavers

The agents had a tour of the ship followed by an excellent presentation from RCI’s Jenny Rafter.

Jenny Rafter

Jenny Rafter

Joyce Nanbame from RCI shows Onur Gull around Rhapsody of the Seas.

Joyce Nanbame, RCI, shows Onur Gul around Rhapsody of the Seas

Sarah Cunningham, Dunlop Travel, got it right when she said: “It has been a great trip!”

Sarah from Knock Travel and Jacqueline from Bookabed got real close this  Army sentry at Tokapi Palace.

Sarah, Knock Travel, and Jackie, BookaBed, got real close to this army sentry at Tokapi Palace

The ground arrangements were handled by Serife Cetin from Agne Tours who left nothing to chance. She is anxious to work with the Irish trade and her email is serifecetin@agne.com.tr

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News

Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.

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