BYE-BYE, BORD FAILTE: Authorities in Dublin will
merge Ireland's national tourism board, Bord Failte Eirann, with
the State Tourism Training Agency (CERT) May 28 to form new tourism
development authority, Failte Ireland. The move does not effect
operations at Tourism Ireland, the joint body that markets the
Republic and Northern Ireland as one destination in international
markets, including the U.S. John O'Donoghue, Ireland's minister for
arts, sport and tourism, said Failte Ireland will "focus on the
experience of visitors when they get [to Ireland], by working ...
to provide a one-stop-shop for strategic and practical support to
develop and sustain Ireland as a high quality and competitive
tourist destination." "Tourism Ireland ... will continue its focus
on getting people here," he added. Last December, O'Donoghue
appointed a Strategic Review Group to review tourism policy in
Ireland; its recommendations are expected to lead to further
revisions in the country's approach to tourism development.
ROYAL TREATMENT: Sceptre Ireland put its
six-night, air-inclusive Emerald Castle package on sale at $499 per
person for midweek travel from Nov. 1 to Dec. 16, when booked by
July 15. The self-guided tour features accommodations in
first-class hotels and a selection of 450 farmhouse
bed-and-breakfasts, as well as a final night in the five-star
Dromoland, Ashford or Waterford castles or Adare Manor. Also
included are a rental car with unlimited mileage; breakfast daily;
and taxes and service fees. Commission is 10%. Call (800) 221-0924
or visit www.sceptreireland.com.
MORE ROOM: The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF)
and low-fare carrier Ryanair called for construction of a second
terminal at Dublin Airport to smooth tourist arrivals and allow
access by more airlines -- moves the IHF described as "essential."
"The airport is the first place that tourists see when they arrive
in this country and delays at baggage collection coupled with
congestion and limited public transport system, to and from the
airport is not giving a good impression," the IHF said in a
statement. For its part, Irish airports authority Aer Rianta
claimed in a statement that any construction would require a jump
in airport fees from today's "very competitive" levels. The
authority did announce plans to construct a new Pier D facility,
which will add 12 parking stands to speed aircraft turnaround
times. Passenger traffic at Dublin has grown by about 1 million per
year for the past eight years, and in 2002 topped 15 million,
according to Aer Rianta.
PROPER E-DUCATION: Check out Tourism Ireland's
newly completed Shamrock Club destination specialist Web site at www.shamrockclub.net/register. Once you've joined, you
can log onto the recently upgraded site for access to five online
education and certification modules and other interactive features.
For more, contact Tourism Ireland's John Daly at (212) 418-0835, or
visit the site.
SIGHTS UNSEEN: CIE Tours revamped its Irish
Odyssey tour, taking in off-the-beaten-path attractions across
Ireland and adding two nights to accommodate stops in Donegal and
in Derry, Northern Ireland. The now-10-night, air-inclusive tour,
priced from $1,297 per person, also takes in the 18th century Cabra
Castle in County Cavan; Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point;
and the Dingle Peninsula. Rates include roundtrip air, first-class
hotel and castle accommodations; 10 breakfasts and nine dinners;
and attractions admissions. Rate quoted includes air via Aer Lingus
from Baltimore, Boston or New York (Kennedy). Sunday departures run
through Nov. 16; seniors are eligible for $55 discounts on June 1,
July 13, Aug. 24, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19 departures. CIE pays a
minimum of 10% on land and air. Call (800) CIE-TOUR or visit www.cietours.com.