Tony Charters and Associates Tourforce

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

Reproduction of any items from Tourforce is welcome, with acknowledgement of the source.

Welcome to Tourforce Edition 10


National Tourism Strategy Very Timely

The announcement by Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson that a National Tourism Strategy is to be developed for Australia over the next twelve months is good news.

Australia’s tourism industry is facing a range of challenges at the moment and these have been emerging for some years. The 2006 Tourism Futures Conference Communiqué reflected strong industry support for a national strategy, so it is gratifying that the Federal Minister has taken this vital and immediate step. Minister Ferguson said the tourism industry has the productive capacity to meet its future market demands and this means greater attention must be paid to supply-side issues such as investment, labour and skills, climate change, and infrastructure. This approach is well aligned to the Tourism Futures Communiqué request of December 2006:

‘The delegation and speakers confirmed strong industry support for a National Tourism Strategy to unite the focus of Australia’s tourism industry. Importantly, delegates emphasised the need for the development of the plan to be inclusive, with active involvement of State and Territory governments and industry – a whole of government and whole of industry approach...This would be a document providing unified direction for the industry, containing clear advice and an action plan covering brand development, product development, marketing and distribution...’

The timing and theme of this year’s Tourism Futures Conference will be perfect for input to the National Tourism Strategy. With the theme Global Market, Competitive Edge we will examine the supply side of the equation; the product base, infrastructure, investment, human resources, quality and sustainability. We will also focus on the demand side with an examination of consumer trends, distribution and marketing directions and strategic alliances.

The 2008 Tourism Futures Communiqué will provide an excellent input to the National Tourism Strategy team and will be forwarded to the independent steering body charged with spearheading the strategic changes.

Tony Charters

Word of Web Study

A new study has taken a close look at the effect of blogs, web reviews and interactive websites such as Facebook, MySpace and You Tube on consumer behaviour. The Australian Regional Tourism Research Centre at Southern Cross University joined forces with information systems researchers at Victoria University to determine the influence of User Generated Content (or UGC) on tourist travel behaviour. The study surveyed more than 12,500 people about their travel planning behaviour and found that traditional tourism information sources such as state tourism websites were still considered the most credible and trustworthy.

Further information:

National Tourism Strategy Needs Independent Voice

The National Tourism Strategy, announced on Thursday 8 May 2008, will set a direction for Australia’s $85 billion tourism industry, address impediments to growth and investment and help build an economically sustainable future for the industry, peak industry group the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said.

The Federal Government’s plan to create a National Tourism Strategy was announced on Thursday 8 May 2008 by Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson, at TTF’s Outlook 08 National Hotel and Tourism Industry Summit.

Further information:


How to Land Those Visitors

Australia is facing stiff competition for international visitors - boosting inbound visitor numbers is a leading item on the agenda for Philip Wolf, PhoCusWright President and founder, at an upcoming tourism conference.

“If you want to know the future online behaviour in travel, what consumers are doing, what they are likely to do and how the industry is responding, no-one else occupies this space like PhoCusWright,” says Paul Barren, Chair of IFIT and head of e-marketing for Victorian Tourism.

A line-up of internationally lauded speakers will address the Tourism Futures National Conference from 2-4 June 2008, at the Gold Coast.

For the full International Speaker program visit

Construct Your Own Tourism Industry Update
Receive the latest information on industry performance, trends and forecasts in your fields of interest. The Tourism Futures offers you the opportunity to design your own conference. Tailor the workshops and sessions to your own interests and business needs.

Building Australia’s competitive edge in the global tourism market must be a priority. Importantly, Australia must keep pace with advances in technology, respond to climate change, respond to consumer trends and supply a workforce that delivers service excellence. It means building on Australia’s strengths – its nature and environment, its open and friendly people, indigenous culture, sporting prowess, excellence in event and convention management, climate, health and security. This can only be achieved by industry, government and the community working in partnership.

The flexible conference format enables delegates to focus on their particular areas of interest whilst still gaining an overview of the outcomes from other conference sessions.

To find out more about the conference visit

Perth Airport Expansion

Perth Airport has announced a $1 billion plan that will see the expansion and redevelopment of current facilities including two new hotels, convenience stores and a multi-storey car park. The longer-term strategy is to consolidate the terminals at the current international airport precinct and establish a new ‘Terminal WA’ dedicated to servicing regional travel within two years.

Further information:


Product Development
New Centralised Travel & Tourism Investment Portal on a Roll
This month sees the official launch of TourismROI designed to address this challenge. The website is the first centralized source of information for tourism operations, development and investment opportunities worldwide. Based on the principle of massive collaboration, the website organizes and presents the vast amounts of Travel & Tourism information and research online in one easily accessible and useable site.

The resulting website serves as a virtual tourism investment marketplace. It provides current and real-time information about the tourism industry to enable participants to make current and future operating, business and investment decisions. It allows destinations and developers to post investment opportunities; business operators such as hotel companies and brokers to list business opportunities, and entrepreneurs to post their business plan pitch for new projects.

Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said: "As a founding sponsor of TourismROI, WTTC recognizes the need for a centralized resource to facilitate the rapidly expanding interest in Travel & Tourism development and investment globally. According to our latest research, worldwide, Travel & Tourism in economic terms is expected to grow at a level of 4.0 % per year over the next ten years. This creates an opportunity for every country in the world to be part of this process and to share the benefits. TourismROI will provide governments, operators and investors with easy access to much needed information."

Better Marketing Your Destination
After six months of operating a truly low-cost long-haul air service Air Asia X CEO Azran Osman Rani addresses an Australian audience about significant destination growth from new market creation.

In the case of our Gold Coast service, we have doubled the traffic volume from Kuala Lumpur to Queensland. Clearly, even with long-haul service, demand is very price elastic, attracting many first-time travelers.

However, we believe that to create and sustain market growth, a new approach is required:
(a) More aggressive, direct-to-consumer marketing and branding to drive impulse purchasing;
(b) Creating a lifestyle brand to create new reasons to travel long-haul;
(c) selling a network of destinations that offer a wider travel variety; and
(d) working closely with everyone in the travel industry.

The socio-economic demographic in Asia presents tremendous growth opportunity, with its very large, emerging middle class that looks at international travel as an aspirational consumption. Yet, given its cultural diversity, carefully tailored products are required to successfully tap this opportunity.

Azran Osman Rani addresses the Tourism Futures conference from 2-4 June 2008.

The conference also investigates Aviation Futures in a half day workshop on 2 June.
Few sectors are experiencing the growth and development currently experienced in the aviation world. New aircraft, more seats, longer range; new airlines entering the market; liberalisation of air routes; technology to reduce carbon emissions.

This workshop provides you with an update on the latest trends in aviation, policy changes in immigration, and cutting edge technology in processing incoming passengers. Destinations prosper with the attraction of airline services – learn the key issues in attracting airlines from airline executives and a range of case studies.

Find out more about Aviation Futures at


Corporate Social Responsibility Audit


Tourism Australia’s Business Events team is undertaking a comprehensive audit of Australia’s business events Corporate Social Responsibility credentials. This will help document the breadth of our green product and infrastructure portfolio in the sector, as well as support marketing programs that leverage Australia’s credentials as a responsible business events destination. A ‘Green Check-list’ has also been produced to help business events operators easily adopt green options. The audit is due for completion in mid 2008.

Further information:


Intimate Tourism Seminars

Tourism Futures attracts the most talented and innovative delegates. Forum and Workshop numbers are limited for each session which ensures an intimate and dynamic forum for everyone's ideas to be heard. Everyone attending seminars will enjoy the opportunity to fully engage in the discussion and bounce ideas off some of our industry's brightest stars.

For a full list of seminar programs visit

Renewable Energy in Tourism

The Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative has developed a set of best practice case studies in Renewable Energy for the tourism industry. The manuals feature industry leaders that have adopted best practice in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the sectors of accommodation, airlines, cruise lines, protected areas, ski resorts and tour operators. The manuals are the product of a collaborative effort between industry and the Universities of Colorado, Leeds School of Business, North Carolina Centre for Sustainable Tourism, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sustainable Travel International.

Further information:

Best Practice

Innovation Hotel

InterContinental Hotels Group is creating a hotel which it claims will be the world’s first 100% ecologically-friendly hotel. The chain says the hotel’s green credentials will set the benchmark for hoteliers around the world. The futuristic, solar-powered 'Innovation Hotel' uses the latest technology in energy and water conservation and recycling. The virtual property is currently featured on the website for guest feedback on its features.

Further information:

Tony Charters and Associates