Buddy up on budget adventures with Tripkada

Posted by - December 31, 2017

Buddy up on budget adventures with TripkadaTripkada travels to Siargao (credit to Tripkada Facebook page)Friendly, generous, caring, adventurous. These make us Filipinos the best chums or ‘barkada’ in virtually everything, particularly when travelling. Now, a local start-up weaponises these characteristics into a money-making platform that helps local (and foreign) travellers ‘find new adventures, meet new travel buddies, and enjoy affordable trips.’
Tripkada is to sustainable Philippine tourism what ridesharing apps Grab, Uber and Wunder are to the daily commute. Launched in 2016, Tripkada curates each traveller and trip organiser (or passenger and driver, when ridesharing) that joins its community.
Tripkada began as FlipTrip, founded in 2014 by Tripkada CEO April Cuenca with Jackie Yap and Ragde Falcis. FlipTrip meant to help travellers choose their own adventures in remote and lesser-known Philippine destinations. But, its users found it easier to join more trips organised by other people. Sensing that trip joining was the next big thing in adventure travel, they flipped (hehe) their model, and voila! Tripkada was born.
Tripkada’s app and website make it easy to plan, share and join trips. These trips are often destinations off the beaten path, where travel groups connect with local experts all over the Philippines. This leads to livelihood opportunities and sustainable tourism development in local communities. The start-up also gets these experts and small businesses to vet travel itineraries.
Key to Tripkada’s success is that it’s got enough structure, claims of being a ‘very casual start-up’ aside, to bring each member’s skills and interests together. ‘I think that everyone is uniquely creative in their own way, so being able to express that in each person is important,’ Cuenca explained via a recorded interview with e27. ‘But keeping everyone in line and geared towards the same vision is also very important.’
This vision (and the other key to the start-up’s success) is to make each trip a bonding experience. ‘The best way to know a person is by travelling with them and going outside of your comfort zones together,’ said Cuenca. ‘I think that when we travel, it really helps to build a relationship. It creates shared experiences outside of the regular office space.’
Cuenca definitely walks her talk: her social media posts show her with her significant other having their own trips together! Bringing this vision to Tripkada has also paid off big-time: its very concept won the 2014 Ideaspace Philippines National Startup Competition, and the ‘People’s Choice Award’ at the 2015 Echelon Top 100 Philippines Qualifiers. But most importantly, the feedback it has received from travellers has been largely positive, with the start-up’s social media channels full of stories about Tripkada fans hanging out, forming relationships, and going off on new adventures.

APT launches New Year Sale and incentive

Posted by - December 29, 2017

APT launches New Year Sale and incentiveAPT has launched its New Year Sale enabling travel agents to offer clients savings across its 2018 and 2019 holidays.
The sale runs until 28 February 2018 or until sold out.
Savings of up to £4,600 per couple are available on some of APT’s most popular luxury European river cruises, including the 15-day Magnificent Europe with prices starting from £2,795 per person, twin share.
There are also ‘Fly Free in Premium Economy’ and ‘Fly Free’ offers on Luxury and Premium cruise and land tours in Vietnam & Cambodia respectively.
Solo travellers can take advantage of no solo supplements on Luxury and Premium European river cruises throughout the promotional period, including Magnificent Europe, Grand Bordeaux, Rhone Treasures and Highlights of the Danube.
Touring deals featured in the sale include savings of up to £1,000 per couple and featured destinations are Canada & Alaska, New Zealand and Australia.
The company is also launching an agent incentive, awarding Love2Shop vouchers for river cruise bookings made in January.
Agents who book any APT Luxury or Premium Europe or Asia river cruise will receive a £50 voucher.
The incentive is open to UK and Irish travel agents and runs from 1 to 31 January 2018.
To qualify, agents need to submit their booking reference and details via www.APT-Experts.co.uk by February 9, 2018.
For more information email agentclub@aptouring.co.uk.

Cosmos appoints director of sales

Posted by - December 29, 2017

Cosmos appoints director of salesCosmos has announced the appointment of Janet Parton to director of sales.
Parton was formerly head of sales, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways. She helped communicate the escorted tour operator’s rebrand to travel trade earlier this year as well as successfully targeting new markets for luxury river line Avalon Waterways.
“During her tenure as head of sales, Janet displayed outstanding leadership abilities, an enthusiasm for sales, a passion for cruising and touring holidays and extensive product knowledge,” said Giles Hawke, CEO of Cosmos and Avalon Waterways.
“She has played a vital role in developing and strengthening our trade network and in growing the Cosmos and Avalon brands in the UK. Her genuine spirit and wealth of expertise are essential during this next period of exponential growth for us.”
Parton has over 20 years’ experience working in a sales environment, including holding senior sales positions at Carnival UK and MSC Cruises, and is currently chair of the trade engagement committee for CLIA UK and Ireland.
She leads a team of three trade account managers, including newly appointed Danielle Radford who will cover the north of England.

LATA reveals predictions for 2018

Posted by - December 29, 2017

LATA reveals predictions for 2018As 2017 draws to a close, members of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) have made predictions for next year.
They have revealed forward booking statistics for 2018 showing positive growth in travel to the region, particularly to Peru, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia, an increase in demand for less traditional and more off-the-beaten-track destinations, and a surge in luxury bookings.
In Argentina, Abercrombie & Kent has seen travellers move away from more traditional tourist destinations towards more undiscovered and wildlife focused areas of the country such as Peninsula Valdes located on the Atlantic coast and the area of the Ibera Wetlands.
Jacada Travel has seen a similar trend across Latin America with a sharp rise in holiday bookings to off-the-beaten track destinations such as Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Punta Gorda in Belize.
At the same time, airlines like Air Europa continue to develop their flight connections in Latin America, bringing lesser-known destinations closer to the UK traveller – such as Recife in Brazil’s north-eastern state of Pernambuco.
Both Journey Latin America and Chimu Adventures report strong booking figures for Colombia. With forward booking stats revealing increases of up to 20% (Chimu Adventures), the destination looks set for strong UK visitor arrivals in 2018. This is in line with recent tourist statistics published by ProColombia which revealed a 5.1% year-on-year increase in UK visitors (between January and October 2017).
The growth of luxury infrastructure and services in the region has spurred the demand for luxury holidays. Developments such as Awasi Iguazu (scheduled to open in January 2018 in Argentina), Leonardo Di Caprio’s “Blackadore Cay, A Restorative Island” (to open in 2018 in Belize), and the introduction of new luxury services such as the Belmond Andean Explorer show a strong response to the growing luxury sector.
It is also expected that the launch of Latin America’s first budget flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires with Norwegian Airlines will open up Latin America to a more diverse market, making the destination more accessible to a wider demographic and stimulating further growth to the region.
Colin StewartColin Stewart, chairman of the Latin American Travel Association said:
“LATA continues to work closely with its members and the UK travel industry to promote sustainable travel to Latin America and to stimulate growth to the region. 2017 was a pivotal year for Latin America with new flight links and the development of new tourism infrastructure opening-up new destinations to visitors and catapulting Latin America to the top of the list of desirable travel destinations. We are delighted to see that tourism statistics for 2018 are looking strong and we look forward to continuing our work with the LATA members to help showcase this vibrant and colourful continent”.

G Adventures introduces responsible roadmap for indigenous tourism

Posted by - December 29, 2017

G Adventures introduces responsible roadmap for indigenous tourismG Adventures, together with its non-profit organisation, Planeterra, and The George Washington University’sInternational Institute of Tourism Studies, has published a set of guidelines to help improve tourism’s impact on local communities.
Designed for companies working or travelling with indigenous groups, the new Indigenous People and The Travel Industry: Global Good Practice Guidelines is a downloadable 23-page pdf booklet, which provides guidance for working with indigenous people, while helping communities directly benefit from responsible tourism.
G Adventures’ vice president of social enterprise and sustainability, Jamie Sweeting, says that for too long governments and businesses have prioritised rapid growth over respect for Indigenous people.
“The ancestral lands, traditional culture, and legacies of Indigenous communities have been threatened by the pursuit of profit, and sadly tourism has contributed to this. We now have an opportunity to rewrite the story and ensure tourism is a force for Indigenous well-being.
“From the Maasai in East Africa, to the Quechua in Peru, our partnership with Indigenous communities is what makes G Adventures’ tours special for travellers and life-changing for local people. If we can give back further by encouraging the travel industry to do more to help these groups, it will be a sea change for our industry,” said Sweeting.
The operator partners with and/or contracts the services of 94 different indigenous communities in 44 countries. Its social enterprise model, which seeks to earn profit while delivering social impact, is built around identifying the unique, but often excluded communities who have often been left out of the tourism economy, then bringing them into G Adventures’ supply chain.
The 17 guidelines are organised into three categories to be of maximum relevance to the variety of organisations interacting with Indigenous people through tourism: (1) developing tourism experiences, (2) operating tourism experiences, and (3) marketing tourism experiences.
The guidelines were finalised with input from an expert panel including the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Community Based Tourism Institute, and Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda.

Cox & Kings releases travel style 2018 study

Posted by - December 29, 2017

Cox & Kings releases travel style 2018 studyCox and Kings has looked at travel trends for next year and says that immersive experiences will take precedence over destinations.
The operator indicates that in the coming year, travellers will seek experiences that are defined by their personality, interests and style, most of which have been evolving over the years but will find a definite pattern moving towards 2018.
Peter Kerkar, group CEO, Cox & Kings Ltd. presents the top 8 experiences that will gain momentum in the coming year.
• Culinary Tours:
While culinary trips as part of larger holidays are already in place, what will emerge are food tours, not only focussing on dining or food tasting but more on the cooking style, history of cuisines, local flavours and tradition.
• Glamping:
Travellers want to be a part of immersive experiences without compromising on the luxuries, and glamping combines luxurious accommodation and in-destination experiences. With glamping taking various forms – think Canvas tents at TUTC in the mountains of Ladakh, Safari lodges in the thick forests of Masaai Mara in Africa, igloo pods in Swiss Alpes or floating cabins on the coast of Cambodia, Glamping, clearly is one of the most popular travel segments the coming year.
• Genealogy:
The curiosity to know more about the world and about oneself, their past, legacy, and ancestral history has given birth to the concept of ‘tracing your roots’. Given a large Indian diaspora population has been living in different continents for years, there is a sudden rise in third generation travellers, travelling to their ancestral properties back in India and experiencing their cultural roots. Tracing one’s family back home while exploring other destinations around is fast catching up with the new age traveller.
• River Cruising
River cruises will be the flavour of 2018. Exploring cities in France as you sail in its inland waters like Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon and Lyon to experience France’s beauty intimately or gliding along Russia’s river waters to explore Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kuzino and Kizhi, River Cruising has piqued the interest of travellers.
• Voluntourism
Being environmentally and socially conscious travellers are facilitating Voluntourism across countries like South Africa, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Peru and Mexico to name a few.
• Destinations that are shrinking
An increased number of tourists will visit the Dead Sea in Israel, The Alps in Europe, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Wineries in America and Archipelagos around the world in 2018 before climate change takes over.
• Extreme Adventure
Pushing your travel boundaries with extreme adventure is in vogue. Those who wish to test and push their strength are picking up tough expeditions such as Ice cycling in Mongolia, Trekking through ice in search of snow leopards in Spiti, Cruising in Antarctica, Mountain cycling in Bhutan, rafting in remote rivers, taking advanced open water courses in Philippines and frozen river treks in Indus valley among many others.
• Wellness
Wellness will emerge as people focus more on improving their physical and emotional well-being by travelling for meditation, spa, yoga, Ayurveda massages and bathing in mineral rich water bodies for rejuvenation. Travellers will take detox breaks in the foothills of Himalayas, indulge in spa treatments in Thailand or Bali and rejuvenate through ayurvedic treatments in Kerala.

Party like it’s 2018 – Top picks for where to ring in the New Year

Posted by - December 29, 2017

THE last twelve months have been a blur of travel innovation, experience and adventure, so we’re not surprised that 2017 seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye and New Year’s Eve is once again just around the corner.
While the countdown to 2018 has begun, it’s not too late to find the ideal place to ring in the new year. Here’s the lowdown on some last-minute parties and events that will keep you celebrating into the night:
Sydney, Australia Sydney is famed for its annual display of fireworks to ring in the new year. Source: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock
As one of the first major cities to see the stroke of midnight, Sydney has long been a firm favorite for New Year’s revellers – and it doesn’t disappoint.
One of the biggest events in the world, the celebrations draw more than one million people to watch the boat parade, the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show, and the fireworks over the Sydney Opera House.
Chiang Mai, Thailand thousands of candle-lit lanterns are released at the stroke of midnight in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Source: Shutterstock
If you’re looking for a more spiritual approach to your first hours of 2018, Chiang Mai offers a time to reflect along with all the fun of your usual NYE celebrations.
Every year, thousands of candle-lit lanterns are released at the stroke of midnight, lighting up the skies around Thailand’s mountainous northern capital. Believed to bring good luck for the new year, the sea of light illuminating the night makes for a memorable spectacle and a calming break from the surrounding partying.
Bars and restaurants also stay open well past midnight with live music and festive crowds spilling into the streets until the wee hours of the morning.
Hong Kong, China Firework display on the New Year’s Eve at the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. Source: Javen/Shutterstock
Victoria Harbour is the belle of the ball for Hong Kong’s spectacular New Year countdown. A street party brings a festive atmosphere during the day, while a 10-minute pyro-musical lights up the night skies against the iconic Hong Kong skyline to welcome in the new year.
Tokyo, Japan A post shared by Chris Elemos (@chriselemos) on Dec 29, 2017 at 12:22am PST
While countdown parties and late-night revelry have become more common in recent years, some of Tokyo’s more muted and traditional New Year’s celebrations are well worth experiencing.
Far away from the champagne and fireworks, many locals hike to see Hatsuhinode – the first sunrise of the New Year in the Japanese capital.
A great option is to get outside of the city and watch the sunrise from a vantage point on nearby Mount Takao or Mitake. You’ll be joined by local priests conducting a “festival to welcome the light” as you gaze out onto the sun cresting the horizon and contemplate the coming year.
Singapore The new year will be ushered in by a spectacular six-minute midnight firework display set up in a linear configuration across a larger area of the bay for the first time. Source: Shutterstock
Singapore knows how to party and New Year’s Eve is no exception.
Arguably the best place to be in Singapore when the ball drops is Marina Bay. There you can watch the countdown and fireworks on the famous Marina Bay shoreline or celebrate at the Marina Bay Sands Resort which has an observation deck and infinity pool facing the city’s skyline and New Year’s fireworks display.
Away from the city center, Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island puts on its own celebration. The beach is transformed to a party haven on December 31, with 12 hours of music, dancing and even a foam pool.
With less than two days to go, everyone here at Travel Wire Asia wishes all out readers a fantastic, happy and safe new year. Whether you’re quaffing champagne on a rooftop bar or enjoying some quiet reflection in nature, enjoy! And we’ll see you on the flip side for more travel adventures.
The post Party like it’s 2018 – Top picks for where to ring in the New Year appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

10 amazing hotels that should be on your bucket list

Posted by - December 29, 2017

10 amazing hotels that should be on your bucket listWe all dream of travelling to places we’ve never been, to see something we’ve never seen. So, for those of you who are craving for that trip of a lifetime, we’ve compiled ten of the most extraordinary destinations that’ll be worthy additions to your bucket list.Explora Patagonia

Explora Patagonia is one of the top destinations in Patagonia, Chile.
If you enjoy treks and horseback rides – these are just some of the adventures you could take at this all-inclusive hotel anchored in Lake Pehoé, right at the heart of Torres del Paine National Park.
This 5-star lodge is surrounded by acres of unadulterated nature with colossal views of glaciers, lakes and mountain ranges. It’s a luxurious camp juxtaposed with a rugged landscape.
At Explora Patagonia, you’ll be pampered by its luxurious interiors. But outside its walls, your next adventure awaits.
Ananda in the Himalayas

Imagine yourself meditating in an award-winning luxury spa at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.
Ananda in the Himalayas is a destination hotel and spa that sits on a 100-acre ancient Maharaja’s Palace Estate, hidden in forests, overlooking a spiritual town and the Ganges River valley.
This is the perfect getaway for wellness enthusiasts and those who are into yoga and meditation. It also serves healthy organic cuisine to restore balance to your physical, mental and spiritual being.
ICEHOTEL
If you want to try living like an Eskimo in a structure made of ice, then ICEHOTEL should be on your bucket list.
It’s a world-famous snowtel that changes design every winter and doubles as an art exhibition made of ice. And for those looking for a fixed suite, the property also offers ICEHOTEL 365, which is a permanent structure that has luxury and art suites, as well as a bar, and of course, an ice gallery.
This winter wonderland is located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle.
Lough Eske Castle
You can be kings and queens when you stay at the Lough Eske Castle.
It’s a five-star castle hotel that was fully restored and hidden in a lakeside estate, just outside Donegal Town.
The hotel is surrounded by 40 acres of woodland and gardens. And inside the castle, you’ll find grand staircases, renaissance paintings, sculptures and acres of polished wood.
A combination of the old and new, the Lough Eske Castle will bedazzle you with its magic.
Cour des Loges
You’ll find it hard to resist the grandeur and majesty of Cour des Loges, a five-star luxury hotel with extravagant rooms, a spa, and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The hotel is housed in 14th to 17th-century buildings, creating an atmosphere that’s rich in history. At the heart of it all, you’ll find a stunning courtyard with a glass ceiling that’s truly an amazing site.
It’s a treasure waiting to be found in Lyon, France.
Rosewood Mayakoba
At the Rosewood Mayakoba, you’ll be surrounded by an emerald jungle and unspoiled white beaches. It’s a resort that defines a private world of unmatched luxury and sophisticated beauty.
This is the perfect getaway for those looking for a cultural immersion because from this hotel, you could take an exclusive journey to visit the ancient Mayan civilization. It’s a paradise waiting to be discovered. A lush landscape where art lovers and cultural enthusiasts thrive.
Rosewood Mayakoba is a serene oasis located in Cancun, Mexico.
Marqués De Riscal
A tailor-made destination for wine lovers, Marqués de Riscal is located in Ciudad de Vino (the City of Wine).
It’s a Frank Gehry masterpiece, a Luxury Collection Hotel, and a striking figure amidst legendary vineyards. You’ll be in awe of its marvellous design. Its interior and exterior details come close to none. From the curved maple walls to the leather furniture and marble bathrooms, every piece of furniture is well thought out.
The Marqués de Riscal in Spain is an avant-garde hotel you must see to believe.
The Manta Resort
Set in an island paradise off the east coast of Africa, The Manta Resort is for those looking to get away from civilization.
This five-star luxury resort offers close encounters with nature and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. It has underwater rooms where you’ll find yourself engulfed underneath turquoise waters.
Imagine yourself with marine life just outside your window. The Manta Resort will give you a truly surreal experience.
Le Sirenuse Hotel
Staying in Le Sirenuse Hotel is like living in a dream.
It’s considered as one of Italy’s leading seaside luxury hotels and it offers stunning views of the Amalfi Coast.
Le Sirenuse Hotel is a 58-room summer house that sits in the sun-drenched town of Polistano, just a couple of hours from Naples. It’s a romantic getaway where you’ll see sprawling grape trellises, houses coloured in pastel, and some of Italy’s finest art.
Ion Adventure Hotel
Built in an incomparable environment, Ion Adventure Hotel is surrounded by fire and ice.
It’s accessible from various parts of Iceland and shows off the best of the country. From the volcanic marvels of Mount Hengill to the urban sophistication of Reykjavik.
In Ion Adventure Hotel, you’ll find driftwood and lava, while enjoying the Northern Lights at night.

Leading villa vacation destinations for 2018 revealed

Posted by - December 29, 2017

Leading villa vacation destinations for 2018 revealedWho doesn’t fancy a perfect, personalised getaway full of sun & fun? Turn this fantasy into reality thanks to insights gathered by Villas of Distinction, a full-service booking agency with almost 30 years of planning and tailoring vacation experiences to any client’s desire.
The premier luxury villa provider recently announced its annual ‘Top Five Trending Villa Vacation Destinations’ list for 2018. According to Steve Lassman, Villas of Distinction vice president of villa product & agency relations, all locations were determined entirely through 2017 booking trends.
The boot-shaped Mediterranean gem (and my personal favourite country), Italy, keeps its lead as the most preferred villa vacation destination. ‘This destination continues to be our strongest in terms of bookings,’ shared Lassman. ‘Italy’s culture, the food & wine and its historical beauty continue to be magical and captivating for consumers.’
The next desired vacation locale is also, in some ways, no stranger to the list – Orlando, capital of Florida. This time around, the city shines because its attractions and amenities cross families, groups, generations, and price points. Lassman said, ‘One of the growing trends we are seeing in Orlando is ‘Girlfriend Getaways,’ as they combine the excitement of a day at the parks with dining, shopping and the relaxation of a villa.’ Now that’s the kind of holiday my friends & I would enjoy, what with our common love for theme parks, food, & shopping as forms of recreation.
Giulia, managed by Villas of Distinction at Italy, currently #1 in its Top 5 Villa Vacation Destinations for 2018Off the coast from nearby Miami, the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos has become one of the most sought-after villa vacation destinations. Composed of more than 40 islands, only eight of which are liveable, its most popular vacation spots are its capital Grand Turk, and Providenciales or ‘Provo’ – home to Grace Bay Beach, which has been voted the best beach in the world (although I will contest this because of Boracay). ‘Villa bookings to this area are growing rapidly as guests are looking for islands with white sand beaches, staffed villas and award-winning restaurants,” stated Lassman. ‘You now have many cities within the U.S. & Canada offering non-stop air service, so it’s easier than ever to get there.’
A returning ‘champion’ when it comes to villa vacations is Jamaica. Providing the best value of any Caribbean vacation experience, the island has much to offer in the way of activities, including snorkelling, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, zip lining, horseback riding, climbing the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls, and enjoying its 27 native species at the Rocklands Feeding Station. What makes it even better is that most Jamaican villas incorporate the cost of having staff – including a chef, butler, housekeeper, & laundress – cater to your every need.
Last but not least, the state of Hawaii remains popular with both bucket list travellers & villa vacation connoisseurs. ‘Vacationers who have already experienced the other sun & fun destinations we offer are looking for an alternative warm-weather locale with breath-taking views and a selection of outdoor activities,’ Lassman shared. ‘Villas of Distinction continues to see substantial growth in Hawaii, in particular, the Big Island and Maui.’
Want to experience living in a privately-owned villa with your own private pool, butler, maid and chef? Check out Villas of Distinction’s extensive portfolio of getaway options — spanning thousands of properties in more than 50 destinations including the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Central America, the U. S., and numerous private islands — at VillasofDistinction.com.

Wild Atlantic Way now part of a galaxy far, far away

Posted by - December 29, 2017

Wild Atlantic Way now part of a galaxy far, far awayA long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… Ireland, better known for potatoes, Guinness beer and St. Patrick’s Day parties, became the sanctuary of Luke Skywalker, the renowned Jedi of Star Wars fame.
To be fair, the Emerald Isles are far removed from most of Europe anyhow.
The dramatic coastal scenery of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way recently played a starring role as the planet Ahch-To in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest instalment of the blockbuster science-fiction film series by Lucasfilm and Disney.
A brand new, behind-the-scenes short film shows lead star Mark Hamill, who plays Skywalker, praising Ireland’s beauty. ‘It’s like a fairy tale world… you just can’t believe your eyes,’ he said.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson went on to describe further: ‘A big chunk of the movie takes place on Luke’s Island, which is Skellig Michael, this uninhabited, tiny little island.’
Skellig Michael was a monastic sanctuary over a millennium ago, but today it is accessible only through boats – or birds’ wings. Filming for The Last Jedi on the island happened over just two days in 2015 before moving to the mainland. Rian explained, ‘It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site, it’s a bird sanctuary. We could only get there for two days to shoot. So the vast majority of the stuff set on the island was shot on the south-west coast of Ireland, because it very naturally shared the same kind of feel and look of Skellig.’
In order to keep filming The Last Jedi on location, the crew returned to Ireland in 2016 and built replicas of Skellig Michael’s 6th century monastic ‘beehive’ huts on the mainland. The location scouts were so taken with the Wild Atlantic Way that they cherry-picked key locations in counties Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal to represent Ahch-To.
Since 1977, the renowned movie franchise has travelled through many galaxies. Ireland’s Star Wars journey, which began in Portmagee, County Kerry in 2014, has spanned some 2,000 kms of the Wild Atlantic Way – from the south-western Skellig islands to Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head.
Describing Ireland, Rian said, ‘It’s a gorgeous place. I feel very, very lucky to be able to get it on film.’
Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the same film, agreed: ‘Ireland has been great to us, the weather is fantastic… I mean, it’s really amazing!’
Supervising location manager Mally Chung added, ‘They’ve really embraced us, we’ve had such a fantastic time. … The kids were out on the street, waving at us, they had welcome planks with teddy bears outside.’
See Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way for yourself by viewing the behind-the-scenes film on YouTube at https://youtu.be/GdYD-dNzjdI. Read more about Star Wars filming on Ireland at www.ireland.com/starwars. And, of course, soak up more Irish landscapes by watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi at a theatre near you.