KEEP 'EM COMING: With recent anti-war protests in
Europe conspiring with wartime traveler jitters to discourage
transatlantic travel, officials at Tourism Ireland stressed that
Ireland remains a welcoming destination for U.S. visitors.
According to Jim McGuigan, executive vp-North America at Tourism
Ireland, the Emerald Isle attracts nearly 1 million travelers from
the U.S. each year, and the Irish would like the trend to continue.
"The Irish people feel a strong affinity with Americans and always
have the warmest regard for our visitors from the U.S.," he said.
"Whether during an uncertain international climate, such as
currently, or during more carefree times, the Emerald Isle is just
the place to get away from it all and enjoy a splendid vacation. It
is our hope that this year many Americans will do just that."
GREEN BACK: Agents selling the Emerald Isle
might consider furnishing clients with the commissionable Join
Ireland traveler discount card. The card -- which costs $39 per
year, down from $59 last year -- gets clients discounts of up to
60% on more than 1,500 travel-related products, such as
restaurants, shopping, attractions, lodging, golf, cruises, car
hire and international phone calls. There are some 500 more
opportunities to save than there were six months ago.
Dublin-headquartered affinity club Join Ireland pays agents 15%
commission on each card sold. The company's Web site at www.joinireland.com serves as an online guide to
eating, shopping and activities in Ireland --and lists retailers
that offer card holders discounts on Web buys even after they're
back in the U.S. Travel agents can enroll as Join Ireland card
resellers on the Web site or by e-mailing [email protected].
In other news, Join Ireland closed its Newport Beach, Calif.,
BON APPETIT: Guests at 145-room, 20-suite
Dublin hotel The Merrion gain a new dining option with the debut of
The Cellar Restaurant. Executive chef Ed Cooney plans a simple menu
that will feature homemade pies, calf's liver and Dover sole,
according to Peter MacCann, Merrion general manager. "The approach
will appeal to anyone who values comfort, atmosphere, superb
service, reasonable prices and -- above all -- good, simple Irish
fare," said MacCann. The Cellar Restaurant will serve breakfast,
lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For more
information, call (011) 353-1603-0600 or visit www.merrionhotel.com.
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE: In response to the war
in Iraq, Aer Lingus said it will credit ticketed U.S. passengers
who cancel their immediate travel plans 100% of paid airfare, to be
redeemed for later travel by year's end. The carrier also said it's
pressing ahead with plans to reinstate service between
Baltimore/Washington and Shannon and Dublin on March 30. In other
news, Aer Lingus said it achieved a profit of about $37 million in
2002, compared with a loss of $148 million in 2001, while passenger
load factors increased to 79%, up from 72% the year before.
Chairman Tom Mulcahy credited the airline's ongoing, post-Sept. 11
"survival plan" for the turnaround. "We will continue to change the
way we do business and further reduce our costs in order to offer
our customers low-fare air travel," he said.