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Tony Charters and Associates Tourforce


Tourism is Your Business

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 13


National Tourism Strategy


With the Australian tourism industry continuing to perform poorly and the prospects of ongoing challenges brought about by global financial and economic events it is vital that the industry takes time out from day to day operations (and in some cases day to day survival) and contributes to the Commonwealth Government’s National Tourism Strategy (NTS).

At last week’s TTF (Tourism & Transport Forum) Leaders Summit, Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson reinforced the importance of the NTS being a 20 year outlook and a ‘whole of industry/government’ approach. He also stressed the importance of addressing both the supply and demand sides of the tourism equation.

In order to now provide input to the NTS at the 2008 Tourism Futures Conference Wayne Kayler-Thomson, as facilitator of the morning plenary workshop of Tourism Futures Topline asked delegates to nominate (on paper) the three key issues that they felt should be addressed by the NTS in order to deliver positive tourism futures.

About 115 delegates responded, made up of operators, national and state tourism commissions, infrastructure, local government, industry associations, research, conservation and aviation representatives. The most nominated issue requiring attention by the NTS was policy (58%).  In particular the issue of partnerships, “whole-of-government” coverage and the structure of the NTS were nominated.  Marketing (45%) was the next most frequent issue raised. In particular the areas of promotion/communication; followed by product development; and target markets were raised. Workforce futures/education (31%) was also nominated as an important issue with a particular attention to education, new technology, marketing, research and training.  Investment (which is mostly related to aviation) – 18%; Climate Change (associated with policy) – 16% and transportation/aviation (associated with air access improvement) -15% were all nominated as second order issues.  The full report of this survey is available at

These issues provide excellent endorsement of the need for a holistic approach to the development of the NTS. Tourforce will promote any opportunities for industry and government to input to the NTS development. 

A discussion paper on the National Tourism Strategy is available at and comments and input the government are welcomed.

Tony Charters  




Going Green Scheme

More Scottish tourism businesses than ever before are being encouraged to go green through a new initiative encouraging sustainability. The ‘Going Green’ program has been developed by VisitScotland to help tourism businesses take the steps to becoming more sustainable in energy, waste, water, purchasing and transport. The program also provides advice to operators on becoming members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme. The scheme was set up over 10 years ago and has more than 800 members across Scotland from B&B’s to international hotel chains and tourist attractions.

Further information:



Vanessa Seekee, Horn Island World War II Historic Sites Tour Leader.

Torres Shire Tourism Development Plan

Tony Charters and Associates was recently contracted by the Torres Shire Council to prepare a Tourism Development Plan for the Torres Shire region.

The Plan is a response to the Draft Cape York and Torres Strait Tourism Development Action Plan developed by Tourism Queensland which recommended a series of Actions aimed at realising the sustainable tourism potential of the Cape York and Torres Strait regions. In particular the preparation of: “a Tourism Development Action Plan for the Torres Shire recognising Thursday Island as the administrative centre, tourism hub and gateway to the Torres Strait”


The Shire has established a joint government, industry and community Tourism Steering Committee to oversee the development of the Plan which aims to clearly outline the current state of tourism in the Shire, the Shire’s future tourism potential and what needs to be done to realise that potential.

The development of the plan will involve a product and infrastructure audit, review of relevant plans, policies and market research and local stakeholder consultation.


CEO Appointment Available  

Ecotourism Australia is the lead national Tourism industry organisation for Australia’s Nature and Ecotourism Industry

Ecotourism Australia (EA) is presently broadening it’s tourism industry leadership role with the introduction of new certification programs in Climate Change, Marine Operations, Indigenous tourism and the international expansion of the long running ECO Certification program.

EA seeks an experienced and motivated tourism industry professional to lead the organisation into the next phase of business growth. 

Further information:




Sustainable Tourism Funding

The New Zealand government is committing an extra $2.83 million over the next year for the implementation of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 a joint government-tourism sector strategy that sets out the vision, priorities, actions and targets for New Zealand tourism over the next seven years. The new funding will contribute to tourism workforce initiatives, advancing sector research, building Maori tourism capability, and environmental initiatives including the promotion of new Qualmark Green criteria to international and domestic visitors.

Further information:


Grand Pacific Drive

The Federal Tourism Minister has opened the Grand Pacific Drive which begins 45 minutes south of Sydney at the Royal National Park and winds 140km through spectacular coastline and scenery to the Shoalhaven region.

The project was supported by a $499,700 Australian Tourism Development Program grant which funded a marketing campaign to promote the drive route domestically and internationally. A series of directional and interpretive signs to direct tourists to attractions, activities and links to coastal and regional towns have also been installed.

Further information:



Protecting Victorian Wildlife

Whales, dolphins and seals in Victorian waters will be better protected through amendments to the Wildlife Act. Some of the key amendments include the introduction of a permit system for commercial air-based whale tourism operators, increasing permit lengths for whale and tourism operators to a maximum of 10 years and providing a mechanism to limit the number of air-based tourism operators in environmentally sensitive areas.

These new management measures will ensure that marine mammal tourism provides opportunities for people to view wildlife without jeopardising their long-term survival.

Further information: 9DB4FEC4ABCA256C91007FE716BB5357677D1317A6CA25725D001DD8F2




Wilpena Pound Resort

A new company headed by Grant Hunt - Anthology the Travellers’ Collection, has purchased Wilpena Pound Resort with a view to rejuvenating the property in the next 12 months including a $2 million to $3 million refurbishment of the resort's hotel rooms. It is the company’s first expansion into South Australia, whose current portfolio includes the Bay of Fires and Cradle Mountain Huts Walks, and the historic Quamby heritage estate in Northern Tasmania. The company is aiming to build a portfolio of distinctive Australian experiences catering to the growing demand for premium-quality experiential tourism.

Further information:



Protected areas

Ma:Mu Rainforest Canopy Walkway

The $10 million Ma:Mu Rainforest Canopy Walkway has opened in the Wooroonooran National Park, 90 minutes south of Cairns. The tree-top walkway is the largest project ever undertaken in a Queensland National Park and features a 2.2km forest walking track that links a 40m-high, 340m-long elevated walkway with a 37m high observation tower. The Environmental Protection Agency worked with the Ma:Mu people to develop the walkway in a culturally sensitive way including long-term employment opportunities. The walkway is also constructed from environmentally-sustainable materials including walkway decking, wall cladding, recycled plastic seats and solar panels to supplement mains energy supply.

Further information:





Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Entries for the 2008 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are now open. The awards are presented annually to tourism organisations that demonstrate best practices that improve the livelihoods of communities and support the protection of natural and cultural heritage through sustainable tourism development.

There are four award categories which attract applications from over 40 countries. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority won an award in 2007 and Ecotourism Australia won the Conservation category in 2008. Best practice case studies can be found on the website. Finalists and winners will be honoured at a special ceremony at the 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit. The deadline for submissions is 15 December 2008.

Further information:



Green Consumer Index

Research from the Sustainable Tourism CRC has shown that 'Green Tourism' is a key emerging market for tourism providers, with many consumers willing to pay extra for sustainable tourism products. The research also found evidence to suggest that operators are not active enough in conveying messages about their green activities to customers and as a result are potentially missing out on key opportunities for their business. Using a Green Consumer Index the research also measured levels of consumerism and environmental activism.

For a summary report visit: or contact Samantha Kume

and for the full report visit: or contact Samantha Kume


MasterCard Travel Index

The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Travel has predicted sound development in outbound travel numbers in the Asia Pacific. The report has revealed that Japan remains the most popular destination for personal travel within the Asia Pacific, closely followed by Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong. Global warming was also assessed as a factor depressing travel demand, with seven in ten travellers deciding to travel less as a result of global warming.

Further information:
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Regional Tourism Profiles

Tourism Research Australia has released 80 regional tourism profiles containing valuable insights for tourism regions across Australia. The profiles include localised visitor profile information including where visitors come from, what they do, why they decide to visit and their accommodation and transport choices. This comprehensive data on international and domestic visitors is designed to assist tourism businesses make better decisions about product development and future marketing activities.

Further information:



Eco Seat Covers

Virgin Atlantic is working with UK footwear and accessories company Worn Again to create desirable new fashion accessories from recycled aircraft seat covers. A total of 2000 limited edition bags have been produced with materials from approximately 1000 seats.


The materials were donated by Virgin Atlantic to Worn Again following the refit of its economy cabin. Waste reduction is a big focus for Virgin Atlantic with the airline aiming to reduce the waste it sends to landfill from its aircraft by 50% by 2012.

Further information:




Online Travel Planner

Tourism Victoria and Destination Gippsland Limited have launched an innovative online travel planner which highlights the experiences and activities visitors can enjoy in Gippsland. This initiative is the first of its kind in Australia with site-users typing in their intended journey’s start and end points, then choosing from a menu of interest areas including dining, galleries, wineries, breweries and historical sites, to generate a suggested itinerary which incorporates driving directions, travel distances and places of interest.

Further information:

Dump Point Website

Dump sites used by recreational vehicle users to dispose of their wastewater are now available on the Queensland Main Roads website. The online interactive map also includes locations of rest areas, driver reviver sites and scenic stops throughout the state. The website enables motorists with navigational devices to download files for use with their GPS equipment. Funding from Main Roads to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia will help provide for at least 22 new dump points around the state over the next 2 years.

Further information:





Green Travel Guide

The first ever green travel guide to Edinburgh has been published which contains a series of city guides that focus on eco-friendly attractions, accommodation and restaurants in some of the most popular backpacker cities across the globe. Some of the attractions featured in the guide include downloadable audio walking tours from Visit Scotland, solar powered otter enclosures at Edinburgh zoo and the carbon-neutral High Street Hostel which sources its electricity from solar and wind farms.

Further information:

Tourism Futures Communiqué    

The issues, outcomes and recommendations of the conference are represented in the Communiqué for the Tourism Futures National Conference.  To view the 2009 Communiqué please visit




Emirates Habitat Regeneration

A major habitat regeneration project has begun at the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Emirates first luxury conservation resort in Australia. Over 1,000 indigenous trees were planted by international volunteer and local residents, starting the long-term conservation program which is part of Emirates Hotels and Resorts’ carbon offsetting initiative. The program will introduce indigenous species to the 1,618 hectare site that will be called Wollemi Grove. The resort is due to open in late 2009.

Further information:


Conferences & Events


Hon Damien O’Connor with Conference Convenor, Professor Ross Dowling, Chair FACET Joane McKnight, Director, Kanawinka Geopark receiving a plate to mark  Australia’s First UNESCO Global Geopark, from Dr Patrick McKeever, UNESCO

Qantas Sustainable Tourism Seminars

Qantas will host a series of free Sustainable Tourism seminars for tourism operators around Australia in October 2008. The seminars will complement the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism and will provide practical information and hands-on training for those in the industry to adopt environmentally conscious and sustainable business practices. The award is designed to promote excellence in sustainability practices and showcase Australia to domestic and international tourists as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations.

Further information:


Tourism Futures Online Forum

Tourism Futures, Australia’s pre-eminent tourism industry conference has launched an online forum.

Industry senior executives and government policy-makers have been gathering annually at Tourism Futures since 2002 to respond to issues and opportunities emerging for the industry - from aviation policy to climate change and the skills shortage. Now debate and discussion can continue throughout the year, with industry dialogue evolving within the global and national agendas.

Understanding the phenomena of online social networks and virtual worlds is the first ‘conversation starter’ for the Tourism Futures online forum.

One of Australia’s Top 10 bloggers and social networking guru, Laurel Papworth presented a paper to the Tourism Futures conference in June this year, on marketing via social networks.  With more people using the internet than watching television, it is a communication medium which will dominate marketing plans in the near future.

Yet it remains misunderstood and under-utilised, even by major corporations and senior executives.

Anyone involved in the tourism industry is invited to participate in the forum.

The link is:  Registering a screen name and password will enable viewing of the links and pictures.


Green Travel, Climate Change and Ecotourism Conference

Australia's first global Conference dedicated to Green Travel, Climate Change, and Ecotourism is presented by Ecotourism Australia and is being held in South Australia from 17 – 21 November 2008. The conference is supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission and the South Australian Department for Environment & Heritage. This innovative event will bring together the World's leading authorities on Climate Change, a broad range of solutions and best practice examples on the topic of greenhouse mitigation, creating green destinations and associated sustainable travel.

Further information:

Creative Tourism Conference

Some of the world’s foremost thinkers on creativity and tourism will be featured as part of the Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism being held 28 September to 2 October 2008 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference is intended as a forum for learning skills, identifying economic opportunities, and developing best practices for creative tourism programs. The conference will include thinkers on creativity, geotourism, creative industries, urban and rural development.


Further information:


Inaugural Global Geotourism Conference

The Inaugural Global Geotourism Conference ‘Discover the earth beneath our feet’ was held in Fremantle, Western Australia from 17-20 August .

Over 220 delegates from 30 countries participated in the conference which was held to broaden our knowledge of geotourism and introduce the concept of geoparks to Australia.


During the conference Australia was presented with a plate to recognise its first UNESCO Global Geopark, Kanawinka, which stretches across South Western Victoria and South East South Australia (

The conference concluded that Geotourism is an emerging form of tourism with much import for Australia, especially with the recent release of the National Landscapes Program by Tourism Australia and Environment Australia (


A book of proceedings containing details of the conference program as well as a large number of papers is available for purchase from

The second Global Geotourism Conference will be held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from 16-19 April 2010 (