Brian Moore Int'l Tours is paying
10% on both land and air portions of four Web Special packages. For
example, a $299 air-and-auto week in Ireland-- including roundtrip
airfare from Boston or New York, and one week's car rental--is
available for travel Nov. 11 to March 25. Optional package add-ons
include six nights' bed-and-breakfast accommodations at $43 per
night; use of automatic-transmission cars for an extra $9 per day;
and airfare from other U.S. cities, such as Baltimore for an
additional $14, Chicago for $48 more and Los Angeles for an extra
BMIT is also offering the Ireland's Friendly B&Bs deal from
$549, with airfare, six nights' accommodation, rental car and daily
breakfast; the four-night Ireland's Pub Tour, starting at $599; and
Ireland's Select Hotels, priced from $649 with air, six nights'
hotel [two nights each in Dublin, Galway and Killarney], a rental
car and breakfast daily. Visit www.bmit.com or call (800) 982-2299.
DEAR BEER: Ireland may have cleared the air in
its pubs and restaurants with a new smoking ban, but now it may
clear the room altogether, thanks to planned nationwide price
increases--unrelated to the smoking ban--from both alcohol
distributors and bar owners. For example, Ireland-based brewer and
distiller Diageo--owner of the Guinness beer franchise--is said to
be mulling a 6% hike on draft beer, and "publicans" reportedly plan
to tack on a few more euro-cents per pint. Reacting to the news,
Irish tourism minister, John O'Donoghue noted that an increasingly
expensive Ireland is already saddled with a competitiveness issue
regarding the cost of drinking and eating out, so further price
jumps could stifle a fragile tourism recovery. "I would call upon
both brewers and the licensed trade to seriously consider the
potential negative impacts of proceeding with drink price
increases," said O'Donoghue. "This ... can only go so far before it
begins to have possibly long-term negative consequences."
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Despite a 47% jump in
bookings and a 28% increase in revenue last year, Irish low-fare
carrier Ryanair--modeled on U.S.-based Southwest--saw its earnings
drop for the first time since 1997, with post-tax profits for the
fiscal year that ended March 31 dropping by just over 5%, to $276
million, from $292 million a year earlier. For more, see www.ryanair.com.
FOLK-LURE?: Sceptre Tours hopes to tempt
clients with a Folklore and History package to Ireland's north,
south, east and west. The deal includes roundtrip air; breakfast
daily; a weekly car rental; a Dublin walking tour; and two nights'
accommodation each at Breaffy House, County Mayo; Sandhouse Hotel,
County Donegal; Everglades Hotel, County Derry; and the Hibernian,
Dublin. Net pricing starts at $1,402 per person for travel in June;
$1,503 in July and August; $1,341 for September; $1,194 for
October; and $973 in November and December. For more information,
call (800) 221-0924 or visit www.sceptretours.com.
LIMERICK-BASED HOTEL GROUP Select Hotels of
Ireland--a chain of 15 three- and four-star hotels in
Ireland--called on Tourism Ireland to provide marketing euros to
aid Select Hotels' privately funded overseas tourism-promotion
efforts. Founder and director Patricia Coughlan said Select Hotels
spends some $1.8 million per year marketing Ireland, but it
receives no economic assistance from Tourism Ireland. She claimed a
mere $122,000 in government support could increase group business
by 200%. "As a national and international marketing group we
promote Ireland as a destination," said Coughlan. "This should be
recognized by Tourism Ireland via some economic support."
FOR ITS PART, TOURISM IRELAND in New York said
that although it is not responsible for enterprise development or
grants--which is the purview of tourism board Failte Ireland--it
does work closely with Irish hoteliers such as Select Hotels on
overseas marketing. In fact, Tourism Ireland representatives in
Ireland soon will meet with Select Hotels "to see if they are
maximizing the full range of opportunities available overseas,"
said a spokesperson. For more on Select Hotels of Ireland, visit www.selecthotelsireland.com.
CHEERS: Brendan Worldwide Vacations is paying
agents 15% commission--on land portions of individual bookings only
[no groups]--for the July 19 departure of its 10-night Deluxe
Ireland tour, when booked by June 15. Brendan also awards two free
Waterford Crystal glasses per person booked. The tour--priced from
$3,536, land only--includes twin-bed accommodations in deluxe
hotels; daily Irish breakfast, coffee on two mornings, one lunch
and nine three-course dinners; motorcoach sightseeing to Dublin,
the Rock of Cashel, Cobh, Blarney, the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of
Moher and the Belleek China Factory; a professional photograph of
tour group; taxes, service fees and tips; and a Brendan Gold flight
bag and portfolio of travel documents.
BRENDAN IS ALSO offering a 13-night, pan-Celtic
deal, its The Scots and The Irish package, priced from $2,091.
Rates include first-class accommodation; tickets to Scotland's
Military Tattoo; breakfast daily; eight dinners; sightseeing; and
ferry travel between Stranraer, Scotland, and Bangor, Northern
Ireland. For reservations call (800) 421-8446 or (818) 428-6000.
For more, visit www.brendanvacations.com.