Travel Weekly's Ireland E-letter: May 26, 2005

PARTNERSHIP PAYS: Ireland-only, agent-only tour operator Sceptre Tours said it provided its Emerald Partner travel agencies with more than $1.1 million in sales via referred bookings over the past year. Agents can enroll as Emerald Partners online at by clicking the Travel Agent icon and entering agency information on a simple form that Sceptre claims takes less than one minute to fill out. Retailers with questions regarding Emerald Partner program can use the Live Support Instant Chat feature at or speak to a support specialist at (800) 221-0924.

BOOMTOWN: It appears Dublins days as a second-tier, smaller European city are numbered. Already in the tourism big leagues, the booming Irish capital  long a net exporter of people is set to grow by 28%, to more than 1.4 million residents, by 2021 making it as, or more, populous as Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the greater metropolitan Dublin area will get even more crowded, growing some 40%, to nearly 2.1 million people, according to Irelands Central Statistics Office. See for more details.

HOW AER WILL FARE: Irelands government agreed last week to a partial privatization of Aer Lingus that would involve selling a majority stake. Dublin, however, would retain at least 25% ownership and allow employees to keep a 15% share. The government, which currently owns 85% of the national airline, will appoint financial advisors to be consulted on size, type and timing of any sale. Irish transport minister Martin Cullen said the partial privatization would give Aer Lingus funding for new aircraft and to compete on new routes. The government also called for building a new terminal at Dublin Airport by 2009. For more, visit

SOMETHING SPECIAL IN THE EIRE: Following American Airlines May 1 introduction of daily nonstop flights from Boston (Logan) to Shannon, Ireland, American Airlines Vacations is offering its first-ever packages to destinations across the Emerald Isle. Hotel prices start at $182 per person, double occupancy, at the Jurys Montrose Hotel in Dublin.  AA Vacations also is offering packages, such as Ireland Manor House deals priced from $199 per person for two-night stays. For more, call (800) 321-2121 or visit  

BELFAST OR BUST: Continental Airlines begins new daily nonstop service from New York (Newark) to Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 26, the first-ever such service from the U.S. to the British province. Flight CO94, on Boeing 757 equipment, departs Newark daily at 7:55 p.m., arriving at Belfast at 7:30 a.m. the next day. Flight CO95 departs Belfast daily at 9 a.m. and arrives at Newark at 11:25 a.m. the same day. Continental will operate five flights a week during the winter months and return to daily service in spring 2006.Belfast is the 21st city in the carriers growing transatlantic route network.


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