Tuesday 15 July 2008

US airlines charge fatties for extra seats.

Airline Charges:could airline passengers soon face the same penalties for being overweight as baggage?
US passengers gained an average of 10lbs during the 1990s' resulting in an extra 350 million gallons of fuel being used by aircraft.
Southwest airlines has already started charging overweight passengers for two seats following complaints from passengers whose seats were sat upon by "overweight neighbours"
Canada takes a different line with the law prohibiting airlines charging overweight passengers extra for taking up more than 1 seat. This new law will cost Air Canada €4.4 million a year in lost revenue. As the price of oil steadily increases how long will it be before this law is repealed?.Ryanair assure us they have no intention of charging overweight passengers so that should reassure us all?.The full article is available in the Irish Times July 5th.

Hotels - still ripping us off, with help from Failte Ireland?

In The Irish Times for Tuesday July 15th, there is a story of a couple who tried to use a voucher for 440 Euro to book a hotel in Galway during race week. According to the Irish Times, the hotel in question tried to add on another 130 Euro a night, presumably because of the week that was in it.

This is no surprise in rip-off Ireland. Now that we are facing a serious downturn, some hotels are offering great value, but others see nothing wrong in continuing to squeeze those extra bucks from the punters. What may alarm some, however, is Failte Ireland's reported attitude. Apparently, FI do set maximum prices, but then allow these to be breached for special events such as Galway race week.

Perhaps FIs attitude is part of the problem. Why can't the Irish tourism industry and authorities work out a maximum prices - and then stick to them? We saw the same mindset at work in the Ryder cup in 2006. The then minister for Tourism, John O'Donoghue, criticised the hugely inflated prices being charged by hotels during the Ryder Cup, but received scant support from Failte Ireland, who made excuses for the hotels instead of backing up the minister.

Come on Fawlty Ireland - why don't you play your part in policing the sector more, and making Ireland a consistent, good-cvalue destination again!

Monday 7 July 2008

"Close your eyes and you could almost be on Bondi"

A bit of a stretch, perhaps to imagine lounging on one of Australia's most famous beaches unless you are taking some mind altering drugs?.
But with palm trees, beach cabanas, lounge chairs, parasols, barbecues, beer, 240 tonnes of sand and salsa dancers, you could almost be in Tramore.
I refer to the launch of Ireland's first urban beach in George's Dock at the International Financial Services Centre. Inspired by cites like Amsterdam which have created similar beach settings, Dublin's Docklands authority have splashed out more than €200,000 on trucking in tonnes of sand from Wexford in a bid to transform the site into a "seaside oasis"
Day- trippers will be able to play giant chess, jenga, mini golf, volley ball, beach soccer and hire pedal boats while for those looking to party into the sunset there are several themed evenings including a Tango night and Salsa night.
The urban beach will be open until July 20th and it's well worth a visit. SPF20 advised for those who burn easily!. The full article is available in The Sunday Business Post 6th Jul.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Tourism slow as Olympics approach

With the Beijing Olympics less than two months away, hotel operators, travel agencies and foreign businessmen claim tougher Chinese visa restrictions are proving bad for business. A number of new hotels have been built for the Olympic opening but many say business is slow.
New visa restrictions were put in place in May for "security considerations". The government has said it is determined to combat possible threats to the Games including suicide bombings and chemical attacks. They believe a terrorist attack during the Beijing Olympics is a real possiblity.This year has seen China plagued by riots in Tibet, protests of the Olympic torch relay and the Sichuan earthquake. This has resulted in a huge security presence on Beijing's streets.
So what's in store for those lucky enough to make it in to China?.
All outdoor parties planned for the three-week-long Olympic celebration have been banned and bars will be forced to close early. Is it any wonder tourists are staying away.The inclement weather in Ireland may prevent many outdoor parties but you can always depend on the pubs being open.