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Trade News - Tuesday February 25, 2014

This Week's Travel News

South Africa Top Value for Strong Sterling

The boom in the strength of sterling continues with the latest Holiday Money survey by the Post Office revealing a year on year increase in the value of sterling against all of the Post Office's top 40 holiday currencies. And the rises are by at least 10 per cent in half of them.

The biggest gain of almost 37 per cent is against the South African rand, while those heading to the Caribbean will get 28 per cent more Jamaican dollars for their pounds.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: "The biggest jump in sterling's value is currently against the South African rand. In a year when many people will want to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela as South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, UK visitors will get almost 37 per cent more for their pounds. That equates to over £134 extra to spend when they change £500."

Transatlantic travellers visiting the Caribbean will have most to gain in Jamaica where the powerful pound will buy 28 per cent more Jamaican dollars than a year ago. There are sterling gains of around 10-15 per cent against all the other Caribbean currencies too, which means good deals for UK tourists visiting St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, Tobago and the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile sunseekers heading to the Far East can also get much more for their money with sterling making big strides against the currencies in Bali, Vietnam and Thailand, the UK's Far East favourite, where tourists will have nearly 20 per cent extra cash to spend.

For short breaks in Europe, central European destinations provide the best value. The Hungarian forint has weakened by over six per cent since early January and a 13 per cent year-on-year fall against sterling will give UK visitors £59 more to spend in Budapest. People planning trips to Prague will have just under £62 extra cash from a £500 currency exchange.

RCI Hosts Lunch at Big Travel Trade Event

Royal Caribbean International will be sponsoring the Lunch on Day Two of this year's Big Travel Trade Event on June 11 at The Hilton, Templepatrick.

Travel agents attending the lunch will have the opportunity to meet with the Royal Caribbean team, and hear about the latest exciting developments by RCI and their iconic cruise ships.

Colin Rillie and his team will be presenting the latest news about RCI and hosting agents during a great three-course lunch, with similar cuisine to that offered on board the RCI fleet.

Travel agents and cruise specialists interested in attending can simply register for the exhibition and their interest in booking a place at the Lunch. Note that there is a limited number of seats available.

Royal Caribbean will also be exhibiting at the two-day free Trade exhibition, which begins the previous day, June 10, so if you miss the RCI team at the Lunch you can catch them on the RCI stand.

To register, or for more information, email the Big Event Co-ordinator Paula Breen.

More Important to Have Good Gadget Insurance

Ireland's leading gadget insurance provider has revealed the top reasons for claims during 2013 and has reported that a massive 59 per cent of people were forced to claim due to gadget damage. The remainder claimed following the loss or theft of their gadget.

Among the 1,000 people that claimed from their gadget insurance in 2013 were a number of people whose reasons for claiming were somewhat outside of the norm. One unfortunate young lady claimed following a blind date. During the date she popped off to the bathroom, and upon returning was shocked to discover that her date, and her phone, were both gone.

According to, a number of people often end up cancelling their claim, after the missing item is recovered. The places where items were reported to have been found vary greatly - such as inside a fridge and in the cage of a pet hamster.

Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director, said: "With the rise of smartphone and gadget claims recently, it is becoming more important to insure your gadgets so you don't have to fork out for replacements should anything happen. At, we know how important your smartphone and other valuable gadgets are and so offer a speedy claims process so you don't have to be without them for long." offer gadget insurance from just 1.49 Euro per month.

A Titanic Night for Silversea Agents

It was a Titanic event in more ways than one when luxury cruise line Silversea hosted a black tie dinner for its top agents in Belfast last week.

Not only was the event held in the stunning Titanic centre overlooking the dry-dock where Titanic was built, but travel agent guests of Silversea had the opportunity to enjoy a menu which would have been served to the First Class guests on board the iconic liner.

In the picture right Lynda McCorry, Silversea's Northern Ireland representative is with Thomas Cook's Regional Business Manager Linda Henderson. You can view more pictures from the Silversea dinner on ourwebsite.

Emma and Tracey Guests at the Brits

Two staff of Knock Travel won VIP tickets to the Brit Awards last week as a thank-you for Knock's increase in sales from Holiday Extras.

The picture right shows Emma McMeekin and Tracy Massey of Knock Travel with Leanne Kirkwood (Holiday Extras) in the centre of the picture.

Holiday Extras flew the local girls to London, hosted them overnight in Mercure London Greenwich Hotel, then hosted a meal at O2 Arena, followed by VIP drinks reception and of course the Awards Ceremony itself. The evening was rounded off by an After Show Party!

Emma and Tracy said they loved the VIP treatment and were most grateful to Holiday Extras for the generous hospitality.

Thomas Cook Managers Look at New Aircraft

Thomas Cook Regional Business Manager in Northern Ireland Linda Henderson and 12 Thomas Cook managers were welcomed to Belfast International Airport last week, not only to view the airport facilities but also to take a look around the new Thomas Cook A321, which is the first aircraft in the new Thomas Cook fleet to be based at Belfast.

Now all Thomas Cook's flying programme from Belfast International, winter and summer, will be on the new aircraft which has 215 seats.

Deborah Harris, PR Manager at Belfast International Airport, said: "We have always worked closely with our local Travel Trade and we were delighted to be able to host the Thomas Cook agents.

"The A321 is an impressive aircraft and this was a great opportunity for them to visit this new aircraft and in turn let their customers know about the experience they will have in the airport and on board."

Ryanair Has More Work to Do

Travel management companies are still somewhat sceptical of Ryanair's change of tack recently, calling on the airline to do more to convince them about its commitment to business travellers.

Responding to the recent news that Ryanair plans to distribute through GDSs, the Guild of Travel Management Companies said although it's a positive move, Ryanair still has more work to do. "Ryanair's biggest job is convincing our members that it is more than losses that are forcing it to address the business travel sector," said Chief Executive Paul Wait.

"Based on the announcements made to date, Ryanair is making headway in the right direction, but we will remain unconvinced until they commit to investing in the products and serviced required by both travel managers and the business travellers themselves."

The GTMC said it welcomed the "small movements" already taken by Ryanair within a short time period, such as new flexible tickets, reserved seating and fast track options.

Last Chance to Win California Trip

Entries close this coming Friday (February 28) in the United Airlines' agent incentive to win a trip to California. Eight lucky agents will win the chance to fly to the stunning west coast of the USA.

All agents have to do is make a flight booking to anywhere in California on a United-operated flight from any UK airport - each flight booking will earn one entry in the draw. In addition, agents can win two additional entries when they book one of three hotels in conjunction with the United Airlines flight - Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel and Squaw Valley Lodge, North Lake Tahoe.

The more bookings you make, the more chance you have of winning a place! Winners will fly United from Heathrow and Manchester on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 to Orange County and from there you will explore Newport Beach, fly to Reno to experience both North and South Lake Tahoe finishing in San Francisco before flying back to the UK on Tuesday, May 13, (arriving the next day).

New Contract Manager for Innstant

Innstant Travel in Ireland has appointed Susan McCarthy in the position of Contracts Manager. Susan will be joining Julian Evans, Senior Contract Manager and his team in the product division of Innstant Group.

Susan has many years experience at various leading organisations in management positions including contracting.

The Innstant Group says Susan's appointment is in line with its plans to accelerate the development of direct contracts and the addition of new innovative products.


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