Extra routes announced

THESE may be troubled times, but the travel industry is ploughing ahead with plans to keep the “ship” afloat over the next six months or so.

Discover Travel, a division of East Cork Travel, in Midleton, Co Cork, is looking forward to the challenge. Managing director, Brendan Barry, has announced the incorporation of Bali, The Maldives, Egypt, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi to a 2009 programme. The company started a decade ago with a concentration on holidays to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

These days, Laos, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore are also popular destinations. Contact www.discovertravel.ie or email worldwide@discovertravel.ie/ 021-4635440.

THERE can hardly be a more popular European city destination than Barcelona. It has it all; weather, beach, history and nice people. I recently availed of a few days break, experienced decent sunshine when everyone at home was freezing or wet, and came out at the right end of a good financial deal.

For the independent traveller willing to wait and pounce for the cheap fares out of Ireland, a city centre apartment option is available at a decent price.

Prices change from season to season, but check out www.inside-bcn.com to get a visual on well-appointed, centrally located apartments, prices starting from €70 (studio) per night. Given the location and quality of product, these apartments offer excellent value for money.

TOPFLIGHT, one of the few remaining big travel companies, has been voted as the best ski tour operator from Ireland for the 15th consecutive year.

Competitors come and go, but Topflight can rightly be proud of this latest achievement after a year that MD, Tony Collins would readily admit was difficult. It will get harder, he said, but Topflight bank on retaining top status in a diminishing market.

There is always the summer to look forward to — Topflight also specialises in sun breaks to Italy, as well as the usual destinations favoured by Irish holidaymakers. Check out the deals at www.topflight.ie.

Etihad Airways is to further extend its expanding global network by providing customers with greater access to destinations in Asia, following the signing of a new code share agreement with Thailand’s Bangkok Airways.

Under the deal, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will place its two-letter ‘EY’ code on Bangkok Airways’ flights between the Thai capital city and the popular islands of Phuket and Koh Samui.

This latest announcement comes after Etihad Airways launched a code share agreement with Aer Arann on January 12, which will provide travellers from Cork and Galway with greater access to 48 destinations around the world through its Abu Dhabi hub. Etihad Airways operates a daily service from Dublin to Abu Dhabi.

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