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Travel News Sept/Oct 2021


UPDATES 3


WITH NEW DIRECT ROUTES FOR SUMMER C


ITY of Derry Airport teamed up with Travel Solutions to announce new flights to Majorca and the Algarve for next summer, giving holidaymakers in the Northwest more choice than ever! Travel Solutions, Northern Ireland’s award-winning


and leading tour operator, will operate weekly flights to these popular holiday destinations from June 2022, offering a choice of self-catering and hotel options at competitive prices. From August, holidaymakers in the Northwest


have been able to book a holiday to these popular sun destinations, with the convenience of departing from their local airport at competitive prices. The new routes will commence 29th June 2022 to 31 August 2022 inclusive.


Launching the new holiday programme, Travel Solutions Managing Director, Peter McMinn, said: “We have always known that holidaymakers in the Northwest wanted to fly from their local airport, and with the help of the team at City of Derry Airport, we are pleased that from summer 2022, Travel Solutions will be offering their award winning holidays to the island of Majorca and to The Algarve. Direct flights from City of Derry Airport make it so much easier.” Peter continued: “We have chosen these two destinations because they offer so much and ideal for families, couples and younger sun worshippers. Choose from relaxing by the pool or on the beach, to touring the region for the more inquisitive visitor.” Steve Frazer, Managing Director of City of Derry


Airport said: “We are delighted to add these two very popular routes from the Northwest for summer 22. Travel Solutions are an award-winning company and well renowned in our region, so people can now fly local with confidence without additional time or cost to their journey.” Travel Solutions celebrated their twenty-five-year anniversary in 2021 and offer a wide range of value holiday options. The company offers full consumer financial protection with both ATOL and CAR licences so customers can book with confidence. There are a variety of packages available for booking.


Europa Celebrates 50th Anniversary


THE infamous Belfast Troubles Hotel celebrates its 50th year in the capital city- despite being targeted 33 times during the Troubles, The Europa still stands tall as the powerful symbol of the city’s survival. To mark its 50th birthday, which fell back in July


of this year, the finials at the front of the hotel will be turned gold to celebrate and the Iconic Europa sign will be replicated and placed within the hotel to allow guests the perfect photo opportunity. An interactive installation in the lobby will bring alive its rich history and central place in the peace story of Northern Ireland. Standing on the former site of the Great Northern


Railway Station, Grand Metropolitan Hotels opened the hotel back in 1971 and quickly became a base for journalists around the world as Northern Ireland shot its way to international television due to the unfolding trouble. Many big names have passed through those revolving doors and back in 1973, the hotel lobby became the Irish Times Belfast hub after their own offices were car bombed. Twenty years on and the Hastings Hotel Group took over the now famous site, after the late Sir William Hastings bought it back in 1993; He invested heavily in the refurbishment of the hotel after seeing the potential it held for the people of Northern Ireland and its visitors and reopened in 1994.


The refurb was a success and Belfast seen a wealth


of stars, presidents and musicians pass through the ‘World’s Most Bombed Hotel’ with President Clinton becoming the first serving US President to visit Northern Ireland and stay here – He returned again back in 1998 to the hotel. Over £40 million has been invested into the Europa


by the Hasting Hotel Group over the years with the addition of 88 new luxurious rooms to the existing 184. Julie Hastings,the daughter of the late Sir William Hastings and now marketing director of the Hastings Hotel Group, said: “Despite almost constant challenges and setbacks, the Europa continues to stand proud as a beacon for Belfast’s unique enduring spirit.”


EMERALDAirlines have become the latest member to join the Irish aviation world as the airline gains its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Taking over from Stobart Air, Emerald have recently


secured a deal with the Aer Lingus franchise, with the contract set to start on January 1st 2023. Based in Dublin, the airline are working closely with


their new partners to possibly bring this date forward, if and when possible. After a successful inspection carried out by the Irish Aviation Authority on Monday


Brenda Morgan, Head of Business Development at City of Derry Airport, Laura Laurie Commercial Manager,Peter McMinn, Managing Director of Travel Solutions, Steve Frazer, Managing Director at City of Derry Airport and Julie Magill Operations Director at Travel Solutions


73% of Holidaymakers Say Day Two PCR Tests Are a “Hassle”... but Some Have Other Concerns


THE high costs of PCR testing has been at the forefront of most holidaymakers concerns recently, with a lot of people beginning to question why they are necessary. The government has now, finally, begun to crack down on rogue PCR companies who are charging exterminate rates for testing, however holidaymakers are still having to shell out for the tests, even though they are fully vaccinated. The government claims that the PCR testing on day two of travellers returning


from holiday is necessary for their Genomic sequencing research, however holidaymakers and travel bodies alike have slammed the government for passing the cost of testing to holidaymakers rather than covering it themselves. And it seems our readers agree! The results of our online reader survey show that the majority of people feel that having to take a PCR test when you return from an Amber list country would put them off going. A whopping 73% said that having to


Roe Park Teams Up With NI Charities


THE Roe Park Resort in Limavady has partnered up with local charities Northern Ireland Hospice and the Cancer Fund for Children to help raise vital funds for both charities. Roe Park will provide support for both charities throughout 2021/2022 with employee-driven events, initiatives and has already given an initial donation of £500 to each charity. Sinead McNicholl from the Roe Park Resort said, “We chose both charities due to the wonderful and vital work they carry out across Northern Ireland, helping people of all ages. All the team at the resort is extremely proud to support the NI Hospice and Cancer Fund for Children to raise funds and drive awareness of the important work that these charities do in our communities.”


Award-Winning Hotel Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Plans to Expand Workforce


ONE of Northern Ireland’s favourite hotels is celebrating 45 successful years in business after a busy summer of staycations. With occupancy rates reaching almost 100% throughout May through to August, Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges is expecting strong demand for Autumn/Winter staycations. To continue building on their success, the hotel is expanding the award-winning Killyhevlin team with up to 20 job opportunities available, including a number of exciting new positions. The family run hotel, purchased by the Watson family


in 1976, will commemorate the significant milestone with an exclusive staycation dining offer, just in time for planning an Autumn getaway. The £1.5 million investment included the launch of


six luxury Self-Catering Woodland Lodges, complete with private hot tubs, where guests can relax, whilst taking in the breath-taking views.


Emerald Isle Meets New Emerald Airline for First Time


(6 September), Conor McCarthy, the Founder and Chief Executive of Emerald said: “Being granted the first AOC in Ireland since the pandemic is not only a major milestone in our journey as an airline but a significant one for the Irish aviation industry as it begins its recovery from the worst crisis in its history. “We are now able to progress towards the launch


of scheduled services, which will be rolled out progressively as our aircraft are delivered and market conditions allow.”


TAKE OFF AT CITY OF DERRY AIRPORT


Shapps on Last Chance With Aviation Industry says pilots


THE British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have carried out a recent survey in relation to how the industry has been treated throughout the pandemic. Results have shown a massive 98% of pilots surveyed


believe that the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, does not support the Aviation and travel industry, with almost 50% of responses agreeing that without an extension on furlough, they will struggle to cover bills throughout winter. BALPA have been vocal about the extension of


furlough which is set to end in the coming weeks; They want a six month extension to the scheme which they believe will help to support the industry’s recovery. Speaking on the survey, BALPA’s Martin Chalk,


the Acting General Secretary for the company has said: “Our current Transport Secretary has presided over the worst two summer seasons in aviation’s global history and we have lost confidence in his support for aviation. We’ve seen him waste time on ineffectual task forces, implement confusing traffic light systems and undermine public confidence. Now is his last chance to back a sector so crucial to the economic recovery we know we need.” They have called on Shapps to Support the industry through the Winter months.


take the mandatory day two test was a hassle, while 27% said that it was easier than they thought. Not surprisingly, the overall cost of PCR testing was also cited as one of the main reasons people were being put off travelling to an Amber list destination. Other reasons given by respondents


included that while the day two PCR test taken on return from holiday didn’t put them off, having to take a PCR test three days before leaving the resort did. The main reason cited was worry over


having to quarantine abroad, and the expense that would be incurred, if the test came back positive. Those who said the testing would not put them off said they had “done it already” and it was “pricey but worth it”. The


World Travel & Tourism


Council (WTTC) has previously slammed the “crippling added cost” of PCR testing as “unnecessary” saying they “are partly to blame for the tourism industry’s struggles” and called on the Prime Minister to foot the bill.


Reconnect to Canada with flights from Dublin to Toronto.


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