Tourism is Your Business

  Tony Charters and Associates releases a regular newsletter Tourforce keeping the tourism industry connected with current issues, research, events and funding opportunities.
  Welcome to Tourforce!    

I would like to welcome you to the first edition of Tony Charters and Associates’ Tourforce.

Tourforce is an industry newsletter designed to keep both the direct and indirect participants in the tourism network connected with issues raised in peak conferences such as Tourism Futures; new policy and planning initiatives; product development; marketing and best practice case studies. I will also endeavour to keep you informed of grant programs and other areas of assistance. Tourforce will feature cutting edge projects being undertaken within my practice and those of my Associates. Guest editorials from industry leaders will be invited – addressing some of the key issues raised at the Tourism Futures Conference. The newsletter reaches a national and international reader body of 9,000.

To ensure Tourforce evolves in the direction of readers’ interests, we welcome your feedback and contributions.

Tony Charters

  Best Practice    
  Golden Chain Turning Green
  One of Australia’s largest accommodation groups the Golden Chain Motor Inns is setting a “green” standard for all its 320 properties to achieve. Golden Chain properties, which range from bed and breakfast establishments to extensive resorts, are required to implement at least 10 initiatives from a list of 20, to demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility. The list ranges from using energy efficient light bulbs and having efficient ventilation to reduce air conditioning use through to recycling, reuse of copy paper and encouraging guests to re-use towels and linen.
    Properties that meet the benchmark will be able to display a logo of the Green and Golden Bell frog to identify their commitment to the program. To date more than 200 properties responding positively to the initiative with indications that others will sign up in the near future. For further information visit:
  Virgin Blue Carbon Offset Program    
  Virgin Blue has become the first airline in Australia to adopt a certified carbon offset program that forms part of its integrated strategy to address environmental impact issues. Virgin Blue will commit approximately $2.5 million over the next five years to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from flights taken by its own staff and crew while travelling on company business. The program has been certified by the Australian Government under the Australian Greenhouse Office’s Greenhouse Friendly™ initiative and also allows passengers to offset their flights for as little as $1. Monies collected via the optional carbon offset program will be used to purchase abatement from projects in Australia and New Zealand. For more information visit:
  Green Travel Guide for 2007    
  A new free green travel guide has been published for the first time by a UK-based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to communicating sustainable tourism. Ecoescape features expert input from leading travel writers on sustainable places to eat and stay, ways to travel and things to do. The guide is distributed around the United Kingdom at tourist information centres, music festivals, cafes and bars in key cultural quarters and online. It is printed on eco-friendly paper and uses carbon neutral processes, as well as soy-based inks. For further information visit:
  Treasure Island Turtle Program    
  Treasure Island Resort offers guests an opportunity to protect its resident Hawksbill Turtles through a tagging and release program. Guests have the opportunity to give a donation to ‘sponsor’ a turtle with their name featured on the special tags. The funds are used in the building of a new turtle enclosure as the program continues to expand. Younger guests are actively encouraged to take hands on roles in the resort’s Hawksbill Turtle hatchling program, from harvesting the hatchlings as they emerge from beachside nesting areas to feeding, moving and finally releasing the one-year-olds. For further information visit:
  Greening the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre    
  The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre have achieved Green Globe Benchmarking accreditation along with Kuala Lumper Convention Centre. Green Globe is the global benchmarking, certification and improvement system for sustainable travel and tourism, established by the World Travel and Tourism Council in 1993. The accreditation had been set in place by the Centre’s Ecowise committee which works closely to reduce waste from conventions and exhibitions and save energy. In the past four years, the Centre has made vast improvements in recycling and waste reduction. Initiatives have included the introduction of coloured bins throughout the venue to clearly separate recyclable goods, educating employees and clients on recycling waste, and a policy encouraging suppliers to provide goods in recyclable packaging. Other moves have included the introduction of new energy-saving foyer lighting and intelligent control system in the Convention Centre, to reduce electricity usage, as well as the installation of water meters to monitor and control water usage, and touch-sensor taps and waterless urinals in Centre restrooms. For further information visit:
  Product Development    
Grand Canyon Skywalk

The recently opened Grand Canyon Skywalk allows visitors to experience the Grand Canyon from a completely new perspective. Located 200 kilometres east of Las Vegas, the horseshoe shaped glass open-air walkway is suspended 1,200 metres above the canyon’s floor and extends 21 metres from the west rim of the Grand Canyon. The structure can safely hold 32,200 tonnes or the weight of 71 fully loaded 747 aircraft, sustain winds of over 160 kilometres an hour from eight different directions and withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 80 kilometres. Access will run from dawn until dusk and cost US$25 per person with 120 people allowed onto Skywalk at any one time. The Skywalk facility will also include a visitor’s centre, museum, movie theatre, café, as well as several restaurants and bars. Grand Canyon West is owned and operated by the Hulapai Tribe who owns nearly one million acres of land throughout the Grand Canyon’s western rim. For further information visit:

  Applications for $4 million of tourism funding for innovative and regional tourism projects are available under the Australian Government's Australian Tourism Development Program. Through the program local tourism regions and businesses are assisted with funding to enhance tourism experiences. Applications close Friday 27 April 2007. For more information visit:
  Grey Nomads as a potential Mobile Workforce - National Survey Results
  The 25,5000 strong, national membership of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia was used as a sample of the Grey Nomad population. Questionnaires were distributed to members and 2192 surveys were returned, with most completed both for the respondent and their partner. (An 8.6% response rate is high. The average survey returns are about 2-3%.)

The Grey Nomads sampled were:
• mainly pensioners,
• primarily reside in QLD and NSW;
• over 50 years of age, the biggest group being 61-65years;
• have a combined income of less than $30 000 per year;
• travel with one companion and
• travel at least twice a year, for an average 3-4 weeks at a time.

Over 1/3 of respondents are currently employed, most of these are full time, and employment tends to be primarily in the fields of health, building, rural and retail. Those unemployed are in general not seeking any regular paid work.

The skills base of respondents is diverse, but lie predominantly in the areas of heavy vehicle driving, building trades and labour, engineering and both child and aged care areas. Many of these skills are current. There is a significant group with lapsed skills, and about half of these feel they need/want skills updating.
Almost 60% of respondents are interested in undertaking paid work in some form while travelling and over half of these have no major concerns regarding this idea. Where concerns are evident, they include primarily pension losses, insurance, tax and superannuation effects. Nearly 80% did not have a preference for the kind of work they would do while travelling. Where preferences were stated rural/fruit picking work and building were common. The survey found:
• around 80% were willing to work up to a month;
• winter was the preferred season for travel;
• the preference for just over half is for work to be undertaken in a block; and
• over 85% would modify their travel plans if there was access to paid work.

Nearly ½ of respondents were interested in undertaking voluntary work in some form while travelling

Destinations do not appear to be a major factor influencing the willingness to engage in either voluntary or paid work. However, preferred destinations include the Outback, the Tropics and Townsville.

The second stage of this project is currently underway. It consists of a widespread consultation process with potential Qld employers to gauge their level of support and the feasibility of providing forms of voluntary and paid work opportunities to interested Grey Nomad travellers.

It is hoped to expand the study into a full national survey with support from the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

  Sustainable Tourism Report
  Totem Sustainable Tourism has released its third Sustainable Tourism Report. The report forecasts international tourists to reach 1.05 billion by 2010 and sustainable tourism to reach 250 million. The report also suggests that in the future there will be a recognized Fair Trade in Tourism label, a tourism Eco-certification program and Carbon Offsetting of flights may become mandatory. The 39-page report comes with a Power Point Presentation and costs UK£49.
For further information visit:
  New Ecotourism Website Award    
  Government websites that spotlight ecotourism and sustainable travel are eligible to win's Ecotourism Spotlight Award. The award is divided into three categories: local, national and international with nominations accepted online from 15 March to 15 June 2007. Nominees may include environmental, tourism or other government websites. The application determines whether information about ecotourism, responsible travel and sustainable tourism is included on the website and easy it is to navigate from the home page. Winners will be announced on World Tourism Day. For further information visit:
  Tony Charters - Judge, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2007
  Tony Charters is a member of the Finalists Selection Committee for the the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2007 hosted by World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC).

The World Travel and Tourism Council is committed to raising public awareness of the value of Travel and Tourism, public and private sector relationships, and protecting the natural, social and cultural environment while still generating profit.

Tourism businesses and initiatives from all over the world were encouraged by the WTTC to apply for these prestigious Awards, which represent the highest accolade for best practice in travel and tourism development. An international committee of experts, chaired by Costas Christ, selected the 12 finalists from over 130 applications from more than 40 countries on all seven continents. The Finalists for each of the four categories, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

  Destination Award
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Greenbox Trading, Ireland
The State of Vermont, USA
  Conservation Award
Aqua-Trek, Fiji Islands and USA
Aspen Skiing Company, USA
Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
  Investor in People Award
10 Knots Development Corporation, Philippines
Nihiwatu Resort, Indonesia
Sunderbans Jungle Camp, India
  Global Tourism Business Award
Lindblad Expeditions, USA and Global
Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Thailand and Global
Wilderness Safaris, South Africa
  Tony Charters’ role on the Finalists Selection Committee also involved a Site Visit to evaluate the 10 Knots Development Corporation, El Nido Resorts, Philippines – a finalist in the Investor in People Award category. The El Nido Resorts are nestled within forested limestone cliffs on Miniloc and Lagen Islands within the Marine Protected Area of El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.Finalists now enter the next round of evaluation before each winner is announced at the 7th Global Travel & Tourism Summit held from 10-12 May 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.

  Tourism Futures National Conference 2006 - Outcomes
  The 2006 Tourism Futures conference forums, Topline, and Action Agenda highlighted that the tourism industry is rapidly approaching a critical phase in terms of its response to, and engagement in:
- ‘external’ issues: climate change, peak oil, aviation, demographic and social changes
- ‘internal’ issues: embracing technology, ‘war for talent’ workforce attraction and development, cohesive industry, innovation in product development and marketing.

For tourism operators it is vital that they work actively to take advantage of the latest technology and developments in marketing and distribution, and in terms of sustainability practices. Industry is encouraged to work closely to attract and retain their workforce, developing career paths and working conditions that reflect changes in demographics and social trends into the 21st century. Perhaps most importantly, tourism businesses are urged to consider and plan for changes in levels of tourism growth, changes in fuel supply and cost, and in positioning their businesses and products into the future they are encouraged to focus on creating top quality experiences, built on authentic opportunities to engage with a destination and its local community. Tourism businesses and employees will fare well into the future if they work together through peak industry associations and business councils to ensure unified advocacy and representation.

Government agencies involved in tourism have a responsibility into the future to facilitate evolution of the tourism industry as the impacts of climate change and peak oil become a reality. The industry will benefit greatly from strong cooperation and coordination between all levels of government, to be reflected in a National Tourism Strategy and initiatives such as regular meetings between Heads of Tourism and Protected Area Management Agencies. Tourism industry challenges associated with aviation policy and sustainable transport will require strong leadership by government, and development of a strong workforce will also require government contributions. Government can also contribute to ensuring the Australian tourism industry is at the forefront of technology uptake by ensuring the appropriate infrastructure is provided as and by assisting many of operators, particularly small and regional or remote businesses.


Powerpoint presentations and papers from the National Conference on Tourism Futures, 4-6 December 2006 are now available on CD-ROM. Over 70 powerpoint presentations and papers have been included.
To purchase your copy of presentations on CD please fill in the order form.

  Global Ecotourism Conference  
  The first global ecotourism conference since the United Nations (UN) International Year of Ecotourism 2002 is being held in Oslo, Norway from May 14-16, 2007. The conference is supported by a range of UN agencies and leading environmental organisations including The International Ecotourism Society, Ecotourism Norway, The United Nations Foundation, UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme. The conference will bring together leading ecotourism professionals from around the world to assess a range of critical issues and trends, as well as discuss practical strategies in addressing challenges facing the ecotourism community. For further information visit:
  Asia Pacific Cities Summit
  The Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) returns to Brisbane this year from 31 August to 3 September 2007. This will be the sixth event in the Summit series and the fourth Summit to be hosted by the City of Brisbane.

The theme of this year's Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) is Renewing Asia Pacific Cities and the program will feature a sustainable tourism stream.

Increasing the sustainability of tourism activity is rapidly becoming the hottest issue in tourism, and the Sustainable Tourism Directions for Cities Plenary is designed for cities wanting to develop 21st century responses to 21st century issues and opportunities in sustainable tourism. The features that make cities a 'great place to visit also a great place to live' will be explored in a separate session.


During the Summit, Brisbane expects to host around 1000 high-profile civic and business leaders and decision-makers from more than 20 countries and around 70 cities, primarily from the Asia Pacific region.

Recognized as one of the Asia Pacific's premier business and government forums, this year's APCS will strategically focus on business growth, trade, investment and economic outcomes for delegates from South East Queensland and the Asia Pacific region.

The 2007 Summit offers a limited number of sponsorship opportunities for Australian businesses with Asian trade aspirations, or those already operating in the fastest growing market in the world.

For further information about the APCS, sponsoring or the Summit's Sustainable tourism 'stream', visit or contact the APCS Secretariat directly on 3403 5335 with any enquiries, or for a copy of Brisbane City Council's 2007 Asia Pacific Cities Summit Sponsorship Proposal.

  SEGRA Conference 2007 - Regions can rely on change
  Regional Australia is confronting change at an unprecedented level. Climate Change, impacts of a resource boom, demands on infrastructure, skill shortages and many other issues have required urgent responses by regional Australia.

The most predictable element facing regions is change itself.

The Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) 2007 Conference takes up this theme, taking a proactive stance and examining how regions can seize opportunities presented.

  The SEGRA National Conference focuses on key issues confronting regional Australia. This year it is to be staged in Wollongong, Illawarra Region 17-19 September 2007.

SEGRA 2007 will look at the critical elements in achieving productive change and how to use these to establish and maintain sustainable economic growth.

SEGRA in its 11th year is recognized as Australia’s most credible independent voice on issues affecting regional Australia. SEGRA seeks to ensure that the latest knowledge, trends and innovations in regional development are available to the key players in regional Australia. SEGRA creates a forum where practitioners’ knowledge in the field of regional economic development can be shared between government, business, research and the community.

“SEGRA is not just a talkfest; it is about practical responses and innovative solutions to the challenges of regional Australia. Each year SEGRA profiles a number of case studies where a region has developed or undertaken a significant project that has brought economic and social benefits to their region.” Tony Charters, SEGRA Convenor.

With Australia riding a resource boom regional Australia is facing new challenges to ensure that their communities benefit long term from this period of strong economic growth. As well as coping with demographic flux, skills shortages, climate change and infrastructure needs communities also need to act to ensure they have a vision and a plan for the future.

“There is increasing evidence that the capacity for businesses and industries to be able to work collaboratively, exchange ideas and be catalysts for new and creative ways of using people is often the underlying strategy for success.”

SEGRA 2007 is proudly supported by: Illawarra Regional Development Board, Wollongong City Council and the Department of Transport of Regional Services, Kiama Municipal Council, Shellharbour City Council, Shoalhaven City Council, Tourism Wollongong, and Wingecarribee Shire Council.

If your region or business has a success story you’d like to profile at SEGRA 2007 please contact the SEGRA Secretariat on 07 3210 0021

Program and registration details are available on the SEGRA website at For more information contact the SEGRA Secretariat on (07) 3210 0021 or email


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Tony Charters and Associates