Travel Weekly's Ireland E-Letter: January 30, 2003

TOURISM IRELAND launched a new marketing campaign with a two-week series of travel trade presentations in 40 U.S. cities. The agent events, which kicked off Jan. 27, feature presentations from 48 companies -- including airlines, tour operators, auto rental companies and hotels -- peddling product in and to both the Republic and Northern Ireland, Formats vary by location and the two-hour events, which are open to any retail agent, are a mix of breakfasts, lunch meetings and evening receptions. Remaining cities on the seminar tour circuit next week include Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ontario and San Jose, Calif.; Chicago; Detroit; Pittsburgh; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Boston; New York City; Saddle Brook, N.J.; and Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla., among others. For information, call (800) 669-9967.

IRISH HOSPITALITY: Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts is seeing green in the Irish accommodations market. The chain this month took over management of an existing Radisson golf resort property outside Londonderry, some 50 miles from Belfast, in the chain's first foray into Northern Ireland. The seven-year-old Radisson Roe Park Hotel and Golf Resort in Limavady, rebranded as the Radisson SAS Roe Park Resort, recently underwent an expansion program and now boasts 118 rooms -- in both an original manor house and a new modern wing -- and meetings and conference rooms for 450 guests. In another Ulster first, Radisson SAS also will open a 120-room hotel in Belfast in May 2004; to the south, the hotel group operates properties in Limerick, Galway and Dublin and will open a Letterkenny outpost later this year. Radisson SAS pays agents a standard 10% commission. For more information, visit www.radissonsas.com.

LUXURY PROPERTY The Merrion in Dublin woos lovebirds this Valentine's Day with new romance packages available Feb. 13 to 17. The Romantic Retreat stay, priced at about $300 per couple, offers a bottle of rose champagne, handmade chocolates, full Irish breakfast and accommodation for one night. The Romantic Interlude, at about $683 per couple, adds an additional night's accommodation in a double room, with late checkout; the package also includes one half-hour "His and Hers" spa treatment per person in the hotel's Tethra Spa along with a gift of bath oil. Agent commission on all packages is 10%. Contact The Merrion at (011) 353-1 603-0600, by fax at (011) 353-1 603-0700, via e-mail at [email protected] or on the Web at www.merrionhotel.com.

TOUR-A-LOO-RA-LOO-RAL: CIE Tours is wooing mature travelers ages 55 and older this spring and summer with discounts of $110 per couple on 62 departures of escorted tours to Ireland and Britain. CIE Tours officials urge early booking, as the discounts are limited to the first 15 seats requested on 11 departures of the company's Irish Tradition tour; 10 departures of the Irish Explorer; nine departures of the Irish Classic; seven departures of the Irish Odyssey, and the British and Irish Grandeur; and six departures of the British Elegance, the Irish and British Voyager, and the British Discovery. Agents must book the departure and obtain proof of the clients' ages; then they may deduct $55 per person from final payment for the tour. CIE pays agents a minimum of 10% commission on both land and air. Contact CIE Tours at (800) CIE-TOUR or visit www.cietours.com.

SCEPTRE IRELAND hopes agents take a shine to its Treasures Tour, which takes in the full spectrum of the Irish experience from quaint villages and cozy bed-and-breakfasts to historic landmarks and castles. Priced from $999 to $1,699 per person, double, the tour includes roundtrip air on Aer Lingus; seven nights' accommodations, including stays at a B&B, a hotel, a manor house and a castle; breakfast daily; most dinners; a farewell gala dinner at either Dromoland or Ashford castles; and sightseeing and admission fees. Rates are valid Feb. 14 through November, and are based on midweek departures from Baltimore, Boston and New York. Sceptre Ireland pays 15% on land and 8% on air. For more information or to book, call (800) 221-0924 or try out the company's online Web booking engine at www.sceptreireland.com.

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