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
can enroll as Emerald Partners online at www.sceptretours.com 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 www.sceptretours.com 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 www.cso.ie for more
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 www.aerlingus.com.
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 www.aavacations.com.
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