PACKAGE: Talk about commissions. Five-star hotel The
Merrion in Dublin is paying agents 5% on "Out of this World," a
three-night, ultra-luxury package available through December 2005.
What's the big deal? For one, the package is priced at around
$840,000 (more accurately, 700,000 euros), making the agent take
35,000 euros, or about $42,000. That sky-high rate covers
accommodations in a penthouse duplex suite, chauffeured vintage
Rolls Royce or S Class Mercedes, and many "bespoke" experiences
such as a private guided tour of Dublin Castle; helicopter
transport to Ballybunion Golf Club for 18 holes with an Irish golf
professional; lunch with the 30th Knight of Glin at his castle; a
ball at 13th century Leixlip Castle with a performance by
Riverdance; a portrait by artist Graham Knuttel; an eco-safari by
Land Rover to the Wicklow Mountains; and much more. Contact The
Merrion at (011) 353-1-603-0600 or www.merrionhotel.com, or The Leading Hotels of the
World at (800) 223-6800, [email protected] or www.lhw.com.
SERVICE: Aer Lingus said it would boost service from New
York's Kennedy Airport to Ireland this winter season, increasing
flights to 20 per week, from the current 14, from Oct. 31 through
March 26. Clients will have their pick of three flights daily (at
6:00 p.m., then 6:50 p.m., and finally 8:00 p.m or 9:20 p.m.,
depending on the day) save Tuesdays, when Aer Lingus will offer
just two departures, at 6:00 p.m. and 8 p.m. In addition, the
carrier flies daily from Boston and Chicago; four times per week
from Baltimore/Washington; and three times weekly from Los Angeles.
For more, go to www.aerlingus.com.
IRELAND: Tourism Ireland rolled out plans for promotional
campaigns in the U.S. this fall and next summer aimed at increasing
consumer demand; driving more business to Northern Ireland; helping
tour operator partners; and developing transport links, in both the
short and long term. Target niches include affluent suburbanites
and city dwellers in U.S. gateways, bargain hunters, active
travelers and the "VFR" (visiting friends and relatives) market.
Products to be stress range from value vacations -- namely,
escorted, fly-and-drive and golf packages -- to short breaks and
city stays, and small groups. Outreach channels include TV ads; ads
in magazines such as Travel & Leisure and Gourmet; a six-week
online campaign at www.shamrock.org; and direct mailings to 5,000
"activity specialist" operators. In addition, a similar 2005 Kick
Start Campaign is planned for next July. For more, visit www.shamrock.org.
INTEREST: In related news, Tourism Ireland launched a new
sub-Web site at www.shamrock.org/activity, to promote active vacations
in Ireland. The site lists all tour operators found in the
organization's Special Interest Activity Brochure 2004 brochure,
along with individual itineraries and new tour operator partners
that came "on board" since printing.
IMPRIMA-TOUR? The Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris gave its stamp of
approval to Irish tourism policy, according to the officials in
Dublin, concluding the government's action plan through 2005 was
"well-designed with a long-term vision and strategy." Irish tourism
minister John O'Donoghue noted the OECD highlighted a number of
factors contributing to Ireland's tourism success, including
government support for sustainable growth; streamlining of state support; an emphasis on the "tourism
experience" for visitors; and "significant" improvements in sea and
air access. Future priorities identified by the OECD were a
recovery in Irish competitiveness, development of more tourism
careers and an information system measuring tourism's economic
impact; and building of competitive advantage through networks of
enterprises. For more, visit www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie.