All posts by Silvija Travel Tips

Winners at the Travel Media Awards 2018 – Silvija Travel Tips

The Travel Media Awards, in association with Shannon Airport took place on Thursday 7th June 2018 in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

The annual Travel Media Awards, now in their eighth year, are a highlight of the Irish travel industry calendar, for both media and trade. Well-known travel writers and broadcasters Fionn Davenport and Deirdre Mullins were back again this year to MC the big day and as always, there were lots of surprises and giveaways.

The Travel Media Awards are unique in that they are the only awards that call on members of the media to vote for their favourite travel companies. This year’s awards featured some exciting new categories including Best Luxury Hotel Group, Best Destination Representative, Best Themepark and Best Breakout Irish Travel Writer.

Shannon Airport were the headline sponsor of the awards, as well as sponsor of the Shannon Airport Lifetime Achievement Award which was won by Alan Sparling.

Alan Sparling’s Lifetime Achievement Award video

Amadeus once again sponsored the much sought after Amadeus Innovator Award, and category sponsors on the day were Las Vegas CVA, Malta Tourism Authority, United Airlines and the Portuguese National Tourism Board.

Leila McCabe (TUI Holidays), Leslie Graham (Unravel Travel TV), Silvija Zalepugiene (Silvija Travel Tips) at the Travel Media Awards 2018


The full list of winners:

  • Best Short Haul Airline – Aer Lingus
  • Best Long Haul Airline Flying West – Aer Lingus
  • Best Long Haul Airline Flying East – Emirates
  • Best Airport Lounge (Worldwide) – Turkish Airlines, Istanbul Ataturk Airport
  • Best Luxury Hotel Group – Hastings Hotel
  • Best Budget Hotel Group – Clayton Hotels
  • Best Spa & Leisure Offering – Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa
  • Best Cruise Company – Royal Caribbean International
  • Best Ferry Company – Stena Line
  • Best Canal or River Cruise Company – Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
  • Best Car Hire Company – Hertz
  • Best Tour Operator – Sunway
  • Best Online Travel Agent –
  • Best Ski Operator – Crystal Ski Holidays
  • Best Travel Insurance Provider – Blue Insurance
  • Best City or Short Break Destination – London
  • Best Destination Representative – Tryphavana Cross
  • Best Theme Park (Worldwide) – Universal Orlando Resort
  • Best Tourist Board or CVB – Spanish Tourism Office
  • Best Use of Social Media by a Travel Company Operating in the Irish Market – Tour America
  • Best Instagram Account by an Irish Travel Writer or Blogger – @WhereisTaraBlog (Tara Povey)
  • Best Breakout Irish Travel Writer – Sarah Gascott,
  • Best Irish Travel Blog – Tom Sweeney’s Travels
  • Pleasure to Work With 2018 – Tom Travers, Hotel Beacon NYC
  • Amadeus Innovator Award – Richard Burgess, APG
  • Shannon Airport Lifetime Achievement Award – Alan Sparling, ASM Ireland

To see photos from the awards visit the Facebook page  All voting was independently audited and managed by Alex Gibson, DIT.

Leslie Graham (Unravel Travel TV), Silvija Zalepugiene (Silvija Travel Tips), Tom Travers (Hotel Beacon NYC), Tryphavana Cross (Las Vages) at the Travel Media Awards 2018

Declan Power, Head of Aviation Development, Shannon Airport, said, “Following the wonderful success of last year’s awards we were very excited to return as headline sponsors for the Travel Media Awards 2018. This year was bigger, better and even more fun-filled! 2018 has been a great year for Shannon Airport so far – we’re celebrating 20 years with United Airlines, 30 years with Ryanair and 30 years of US pre-clearance through Shannon Airport. We’ve seen great growth over the last five years and look forward to it continuing throughout 2018.”

Commenting on the awards, Michael Collins, MD of, said, “Thank you to everyone who made this afternoon such a special and fun day, especially our headline sponsor Shannon Airport, and a well-deserved congratulations to all our winners, in particular Alan Sparling (ASM Ireland), Richard Burgess (APG) and Tom Travers (Hotel Beacon NYC).”

Another great day in the 5* Shelbourne Hotel for the eighth annual Travel Media Awards. A full house of travel trade and…

Posted by on Friday, 8 June 2018

The Home Ranch, Clark, Colorado – Silvija Travel Tips

Pasibaigus JAV kelionių asociacijos IPW 2018 Denveryje, vykau i triejų dienų pažintinę kelionę po Kolorado valstiją. Viena iš jų buvo
“Home Ranch”, Clark, įsikūrusi Šiaurės vakarų Kolorado valstijoje, 18 mylių į šiaurę nuo Steamboat Springs, vadinamame viršutiniame Elko upės slėnyje. Clark yra maža, retai apgyvendinta, vis dar klestinanti veislininkystės bendruomenė, visiškai apsupta vieno milijono hektarų neišvystytų viešųjų žemių.Tai įspūdinga vieta ne tik vasaros šeimos atostogoms , bet ir ištisus metus.

Atvykūs į Home Ranch ir pamačius gausybę žirgų užvaldė noras jais pajodinėti. Patyrusių kaubojų buvome pamokyti kaip elgtis jodinėjant ant žirgo.

Kiekvienas mūsų turėjome po žirgą , manojo vardas buvo Čili. Kiek padūkęs, neramus, sakyčiau linksmesnis išdaigininkas nei visi kiti- tai pakeliui žolę rupšnodavo, tai strimgalviais lėkti užsimanydavo. Buvo juoko visiems.
Teigiamos emocijos, malonus laikas, energijos antplūdis – visa tai mes patyrėme jodinėdami žirgais.

Grįžus į rančią mūsų laukė gardi vakarienė. Valgį , paruošta iš vaisių, daržovių ir mėsos iš savo gamtos ūkio patiekė išskirtinės virtuvės šefas Jonathon Gillespie ir jo talentinga kulinarijos komanda. Šiltas saulėtas pavakarys, gardus maistas, puikių žmonių kompanija- visa tai apvainikavo pažintį su Home Ranch.
Tikrai tai buvo nuostabi diena puikioje vietoje ir geroje draugijoje Elko upės slėnyje didingoje Rocky Mountain dykumoje.

The Home Ranch







Brand USA new marketing channel GoUSA TV – Silvija Travel Tips

Brand USA has launched a new platform as part of its strategy to promote the USA from mobile to giant-screen and everything in between. GoUSA TV is a connected TV app that travelers across the globe can access on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire.

Brand USA presented the channel to the media at IPW 2018 in Denver. They believes it will capture the imagination of and inspire travellers around the world to visit the USA.

  • We live in a multi-screen, multi-platform world, with one in three consumers saying they’ve never had cable television or no longer do.
  • But while people may be watching less linear television, time with digital video is on the rise.
  • By 2025, half of viewers under 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service.
  • Currently 80 percent of television sales are internet-enabled, interactive televisions that support the increasing amount of consumers who consider themselves “cord-cutters.”
  • Over half of video content is viewed on mobile.
  • Approximately 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others.
  • Social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined.
  • Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10 percent when reading it in text.

 GoUSA TV available on television and your mobile, tablet, or other smart device.

Silvija Travel Tips

Noel Irwin Hentschel, American Tours and Mike Gallagher, CityPass with Silvija Zalepugiene, Silvija Travel Tips at IPW 2018

It was a interesting to meet two Brand USA Board members with a wealth of travel industry experience at IPW 2018. Noel Irwin Hentschel, of American Tours International and Mike Gallagher from CityPass.

Noel Irwin Hentschel is Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of AmericanTours International (ATI), America’s largest privately held, American-owned, visit USA tourism and marketing organization. Dually headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. and Orlando, Fla. with regional offices in New York City, N.Y., and Hawaii, ATI was founded in 1977 and today serves nearly one million visitors and generates over $3 billion into the U.S. economy annually.

Mike Gallagher is Co-Chairman and co-founder of City Pass, Inc., an innovative attractions marketing company that provides significant savings on ticket packages to the top attractions in 12 North American destinations. The idea sprang from the collaborative efforts of co-founders Mike Gallagher and Mike Morey. Beginning in 1996, the two combined their respective attraction marketing and industry research skills to launch a company whose products currently enjoy a 98 percent customer recommendation rating. From its initial 1997 debut in the cities of San Francisco, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. the CityPASS program has expanded to include New York City, N.Y; Southern Calif., Atlanta, Ga; Boston, Mass; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pa; Tampa Bay, Fla; Toronto; and Southern Calif. The Southern California CityPASS card includes prepaid admission to four family-friendly theme parks: Disneyland®, Disney California Adventure Park, SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND California.

Silvija Zalepugiene, Silvija Travel Tips

Noel Irwin Hentschel, American Tours International and Mike Gallagher, CityPass with Silvija Zalepugiene, Silvija Travel Tips at IPW 2018

B-52 performing at Brand USA Luncheon – Silvija Travel Tips

For the IPW 2018 Luncheon on Monday 21st May 2018 sponsored by Brand USA the band B-52 provided the lunchtime entertainment. Guest were treated to songs including “Tell It Like It T-I_Is”, “Roam”. “Rock Lobster” and “Love Shack”.


Press Brunch IPW 2018 – Silvija Travel Tips

“Press Brunch”- tai priešpiečiai, skirti žiniasklaidai. Čia prasidėjo pirmoji diena Denveryje, kur įvyko jubiliejinis 50-tasis JAV kelionių asociacijos IPW2018 suvažiavimas. Gražioje, vienoje seniausių ir turtingų savo istorija kvartalų Denveryje, Larimer aikštėje susirinko apie 500 žiniasklaidos atstovų iš viso pasaulio. Renginyje buvo pristatyti geriausi “Mile High City” vietos kulinarijos, geriausių restoranų ,meno ir muzikos atstovai, žurnalistus atvyko pasveikinti “US Travel Association”, “Brand USA”, VISIT DENVER ir įvairūs kiti priimančiojo miesto ir valstybės aukščiausiojo lygio pareigūnai.
Denverio televizijos 7 kanalas renginį pristatė Kolorado Valsijai. Nors oras tą rytą buvo kiek vėsokas, visi susirinkusieji Larimer aikštėje buvo pakiliai ir džiugiai nusiteikę , su planais ateinančioms
dienoms.  Mane tą  ypatingą rytmetį šildė gardi karšta kava ir sumuštiniai su lašiša ir juodaisiais ikrais, prie kurių viso renginio metu buvo nusidriekusi didžiulė eilė. Tikrai viskas  buvo labai puiku!

Press Brunch IPW 2018 – Silvija Travel Tips




Crystal Ski Holidays, All inclusive, catered, or self catering – Silvija Travel Tips

Whatever type of ski or snowboard holiday you are planning – you can have it with Crystal Ski Holidays

Treat yourself and go all-inclusive! Breakfast, dinner and lunch are included, either served in your hotel or packed for you to take away. Drinks are covered too – from late afternoon tea to wine with your evening meal – so you can go all out on the slopes knowing everything else is taken care of.

Alternatively, stay in a catered chalet which includes 3 meals on 6 days of your stay, all prepared by your chalet host. In the evening, everyone sits down together for a relaxed, social meal. This is made up of 3 courses for 5 nights of the week and a 4-course farewell feast on your last night. Early suppers are available for children on request and adults’ evening meals come with boxed house wine which is free-flowing until coffee is served.

Whether it is munching breakfast at lunchtime or taking a well-deserved nap, in a self-catering apartment you can do what you like, when you want. Plus, this type of getaway is great value, so you can experience your dream ski holiday without breaking the bank

Self-catering offers from €429pp:
  • Italy: Depart 6th January 2019, stay at the 3* Apartments Planibe, La Thuile, for 7 nights, from €429pp (based on 4 sharing)
  • France: Depart 12th January 2019, stay at the 3* Grand Bois Apartments, La Tania, for 7 nights, from €489pp (based on 4 sharing)
  • Andorra: Depart 13th January 2019, stay at the 2* Manzano Apartments, Pas De La Casa, for 7 nights, from €495pp (based on 4 sharing)
  • Austria: Depart 2nd March 2019, stay at the 4* Aurora Apartments, Bad Hofgastein, for 7 nights, from €599pp (based on 4 sharing)
Catered chalets’ offers from €745pp:
  • Italy: Depart Dublin, Ireland 2nd March 2019, stay at the 3* Chalet Violetta, Val Di Fassa, for 7 nights, from €745pp
  • France: Depart Dublin, Ireland 2nd February 2019, stay at the 3* Chalet Tetras, Les 2 Alpes, for 7 nights from €789pp
  • Austria: Depart Dublin, Ireland 5th January 2019, stay at the 4* Chalet Tirolerhaus, St Anton, for 7 nights from €865pp
All-inclusive offers from €739pp:
  • Italy: Depart Dublin, Ireland 20th January 2019, stay at the 3* Grand Albergo, Claviere, for 7 nights, from €739pp
  • France: Depart Dublin, Ireland 16th March 2019, stay at the 4* Royal Oursblanc, Alpe D’Huez, for 7 nights, from €1,319pp
  • Andorra: Depart Dublin, Ireland 23rd December 2018, stay at the 4* Euroski Resort, Soldeu/El Tarter, for 7 nights from €945pp
  • Austria: Depart Dublin, Ireland 12th January 2019, stay at the 4* Hotel Bergland, Seefeld, for 7 nights from €1,079pp
 All holidays and prices are subject to change and availability, and are based on 2 sharing (Unless stated above). Prices do not include optional extras such as insurance, in-flight meals or group seating. Normal Crystal Ski terms & conditions apply.

To book your holiday now call (01) 653 3504, visit or contact your local travel agent.

Crystal is fully licensed by commission of aviation regulation (TO 029)

Source: Press release provided by
If you have a travel deal or press release you would like featured on Silvija Travel Tips email

Optimistic forecasts for aviation business in Kaunas

Five hundred aircraft – this is the number of planes that have already been serviced by Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Service (KAMS), a Ryanair aircraft maintenance base in Lithuania located near Kaunas Airport. “You could say that practically every single Ryanair aircraft flying today has most probably been in our hangars and has been maintained at the hands of Kaunas’ specialists,” Karolis Čepukas, head of the company, said smiling, demonstrating the firm’s two hangars in which two Boeing 737-800 aircraft can be maintained simultaneously.

In the interview below, Karolis Čepukas speaks about his highly skilled specialists, challenges in the labour market and solutions for coping, as well as about the daily life of maintenance workers, which is both romantic and technical and full of modern technology. He has headed KAMS from the very beginning.

Growing need for specific specialists

KAMS’ main activity is the maintenance of Ryanair aircraft. It started operations in 2012 with just one hangar and 45 employees. A year later, the second hangar was opened, doubling the company’s capacity and increasing the number of employees to 100.
“We have experienced stable growth over the last five years and today we have over 200 employees. While we would like to continue growing, we are hindered by a lack of suitably skilled workers. For this reason, we are working a lot with state authorities to generate more specialised training programmes designed for the aircraft industry,” Mr Čepukas said.

“For instance, since the beginning of this year, we have been cooperating with Kaunas University of Technology, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Kaunas Mechanical School and Kaunas Technical College – all these educational institutions train aircraft engineering and mechanics-related specialists,” he continued, adding that even after graduating from these studies a young man has to continue training in the company to adjust his abilities and skills to the company’s needs.

It is very clear that in the near future the demand for specific specialists will grow dramatically, for mechanics who are experts in avionics and composites and aviation electricians.
“Only a few specialists in this field are trained in Lithuania annually – which is not enough. Given the trends and the speed as well as the extent to which aircraft depend on electronics, it is evident that there will be continued demand for avionics professionals,” Mr Čepukas noted.

Comprehensive aircraft maintenance – in as little as two weeks

“At first it was intended to provide maintenance for two-year-old aircraft in Kaunas. Each plane would spend a couple of days in the hangar. Currently, we manage to service planes that are from eight to eleven years old. The older the aircraft, the longer is needed for repairs – more areas have to be inspected and checked and more works have to be conducted. All of Ryanair’s planes are the same – Boeing 737-800 – which means that maintenance is simpler: every time it’s the same aircraft and the same maintenance procedures and conditions.”
It takes just two weeks to service each aircraft which, according to Mr Čepukas, is a very short period compared to the normal market situation.
The average age of Ryanair’s aircraft is 6.8 years, which is very little bearing in mind that the lifecycle of an aircraft is 25 years. Ryanair has ordered a further 230 new planes, so the average age of the airline’s fleet will “become even younger” and it is likely that in five years the average age of the fleet will be less than five years’ old.

Proud of the first employees’ accomplishments

After Ryanair decided to set up in Kaunas, the first selection procedures and contact fairs were organised in order to “check” the market and make sure that interest was actually huge.
“A considerable number of those who started with us six years ago are still with us. Those who came as mechanics have become engineers – and this is a considerable achievement both in terms of Kaunas and Lithuania. An engineer certifies the work done; to become an engineer requires at least five years’ experience as well as passing exams in 13 modules and aircraft types. It is a long road and hard work. We are, therefore, justifiably proud of our first ten employees who have become engineers, and this number has been growing annually,” Mr Čepukas said.

Impressive expansion throughout the company

The KAMS operation in Kaunas was the second company established by Ryanair to conduct comprehensive repair of aircraft – the first was set up in Prestwick, Scotland. A third has been set up in Wroclaw, Poland, and a fourth is being established in Spain.
“Given today’s needs, it is obvious that to service the expanding Ryanair fleet efficiently, we need to double the number of hangars in Europe,” the CEO of KAMS said. “We are not the only ones who have been growing and expanding; at the moment, Ryanair has about 13,000 employees, and according to forecasts, in five years the staff will total 20,000.”

Great potential for the aviation business in Lithuania

As Mr Čepukas put it, both Ryanair’s representatives and other aviation industry representatives in Lithuania understand very well that to help existing companies grow and attract new ones, there must be a good pool of employees: “We know that by producing well-trained aviation engineers, mechanics and other specialists, the aviation industry could repeat the success story of the IT industry in Lithuania.
We have seen over the first five years that people who come to us have a critical shortage of skills; for this reason, we established a training department this year, on basic Ryanair maintenance. From now on, we will admit two groups of up to 20 people per year and train them.”
Over two years, during which theoretical and practical training is provided, trainees not only study but also work, and after two years they become fully fledged mechanics and the main labour force of the company.