As part of their three-day conference at the Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry, Co Dublin, Travel Counsellors held a Pow Wow with their preferred suppliers on Friday.
Eamon Flanagan of Air Canada rouge was promoting Air Canada rouge’s year-round Dublin – Toronto service, which increases to nine services weekly in the summer peak (12th June – 9th October), as well as Dublin – Vancouver, and reminding Travel Counsellors that from 15th March 2016 passengers who are visa-exempt for travel to Canada will be required to obtain an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) prior to their departure to Canada. The eTA costs CAD$7 and is valid for five years or for the length of the validity of the traveller’s passport.
Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines had a staggering 283 destinations, and “more countries than any other airline”, on offer – with more than six new destinations to be added in the coming months. “With our twice daily Dublin – Istanbul service and onward connections to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa is now one of our most popular destinations out of Ireland,” he told ITTN. “Our onward service to Tel Aviv is also very popular.” Turkish Airlines currently operates to 49 destinations in Turkey, 107 in Europe, 34 in the Middle East, 48 in Africa, 34 in the Far East, and 11 in America.
Other airlines exhibiting included Emirates, which will begin a Dubai – Hanoi service in August, Aer Lingus, CityJet, Etihad Airways, Qantas, United, Virgin Atlantic, and Ethiopian Airlines, which has recently appointed Tony Flynn as Sales Manager – Ireland.
Among the several cruise companies taking part in the Pow Wow, Royal Caribbean International’s Jenny Rafter was looking forward to the launches of Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, while Luke Clarke of Silversea reported that, in addition to Mediterranean cruises, those in Asia were also becoming popular, particularly with “the most inclusive all-inclusive” offer now including a choice of excursions for every day in port.
Vikki Courtman of Holland America Line was also offering two cruises each including two free shore excursions: a 14-day South America Passage (Valparaiso – Buenos Aires) onboard Ms Zaandam departing 25th October from €1,949 and a 12-night Far East Discovery (Hong Kong – Singapore) onboard Ms Volendam departing 6th December from €1,599pp. Holland America’s new Pinnacle-class Ms Kongingsdam will be launched in April and will sail seven-14-night Fjords, Midnight Sun and Iceland cruises from Amsterdam this summer – “an easy 5-star holiday option for clients with our fly-cruise packages from Dublin,” said Vikki.
There were more suppliers than could be fitted into the Pow Wow room so a few had to be located in the lobby area, including Emma Arnold of Thailand Tourism, Tryphavana Cross of Las Vegas CVA, and Vivek Angra of TWX (Travel World Experiences). TWX provides specialist DMC services in India, Nepal and Bhutan to Travel Counsellors and If Only… – and also provided a trip for two to India’s Golden Triangle, for which the lucky winner was Travel Counsellor Sherry Meagle.