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Charters and Associates Tourforce
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
Reproduction of any items from Tourforce is welcome, with
acknowledgement of the source.
Welcome to Tourforce Edition 14
Currency Shifts not the Silver Bullet
The sliding Australian dollar has been championed
as a ‘godsend’ for the tourism industry. However
thinking back to the times when the Aussie dollar was barely
50+ cents in the US dollar – there was no flood of inbound
tourists. Certainly 9/11, SARS, Bali bombings and other terrorist
and health issues placed a serious dampener on travel during
some of that time.
Travel time to Australia is a much more significant inhibitor
than price. It is unlikely that the lower Australian dollar
valuation will bring an immediate flow of inbound travellers.
Clearly it can only help the situation, but great care must
be taken not to assume that the inbound numbers are now just
going to flow. It is more likely though to reduce the rate
of outbound tourism – where price does seem to be a
more critical driver of consumer choice.
The current global economic downturn and volatility
of oil prices provide new dampeners to inbound travel in an
environment where the Australian dollar might otherwise provide
some incentive for an Australian visit. Hopefully domestic
travel may receive a boost – although within the constraints
of greatly diminished consumer confidence.
The celebrity economists have pointed to the benefits a lower
dollar bring – internationals will now see Australia
as more affordable destination and Aussies will be forced
to re-think the recent love affair with those cheap and exotic
destinations that have seduced them away from holidaying at
While the dollar was riding high it will have been a sweetener
for many Australian’s looking at travelling overseas,
Australia will never be able to compete with Asia-Pacific
packages on cost because of the vast difference in labour
markets and the impact that has on all aspects of tourism
development and operations.
Austrade economist Tim Harcourt agrees the challenges are
long term. He has stated that the local industry still has
to face the challenge of labour supply constraints, low cost
Asian airlines, and a weakening global economy.
Australia must place special emphasis on markets that are
within its region (under ten hours flying time) or long haul
markets that can accommodate long flights in their travel
plans (eg backpackers, grey nomads, education travel). Australia
must also focus on its unique competitive advantages –
its nature, heritage, culture and lifestyle. The cold reality
is that many of Australia’s competitors can match or
exceed us on attributes such as price, service levels, variety
and exotic experiences. They cannot match or exceed Australia
on quintessential Australian experiences.
The National Landscapes Program provides an excellent opportunity
to present Australia’s natural and cultural attributes
– one of the nation’s strongest competitive advantages.
Having teamed up with the Tourism Australia marketing campaign
to be launched alongside the Australia epic movie there is
a powerful partnership in the making. The new advertising
campaign, developed with Baz Luhrmann seeks to build an emotional
connection with consumers. It has relevance to all Australian
destinations, and importantly seeks to cut through the usual
inhibitors to converting a desire to travel to Australia to
an actual booking.
Green Management Guide
The International Tourism Partnership has released the third
edition of its industry guide to quality environmental management
and sustainable operations. The manual provides hotels and
other related businesses with the knowledge and means to develop
practical solutions to green their operations. The manual
focuses on key areas such as best practice energy management,
water conservation, waste management, purchasing and supply
chains, food safety and environmental health.
Further information: http://www.tourismpartnership.org
The Business Enterprises for Sustainable Tourism Education
Network in Denmark has released an online publication comprising
case studies of enterprises and destinations in developed
and developing nations pursuing innovative practices that
will lead to sustainability of their operations. The cases
have also been prepared for use in teaching with case notes
to facilitate discussion and further investigation of innovation
in other industry sectors.
Further information: http://www.besteducationnetwork.org/books/2007.php
The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is providing $30,000 in
support for James Cook University PhD, masters and honours
students. Funding had been allocated to projects with a specific
focus on tropical rainforest critical conservation issues
and endangered species. The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation
was established in 2005 with the primary objective of raising
and distributing funds to support tropical rainforest research
and education projects.
Further information: http://www.skyrailfoundation.org/
The aim of this research is to examine mainstream and Indigenous
tourism operators and key industry stakeholders’ ideas,
attitudes and experiences of Indigenous involvement in the
tourism industry. In addition, the research was used to gauge
perceived opportunities for further Indigenous tourism development.
Further information: http://www.crctourism.com.au/bookshop/BookDetail.aspx?d=572
The Tourism Forecasting Committee has just released its forecasts
for the industry for the period 2008-2017. International visitor
arrivals to Australia are now expected to remain unchanged
from 2007 levels at 5.6 million and to increase only moderately
in 2009, by 3.2 percent.
Further information: http://www.tourism.australia.com/Research.asp?sub=0408
Climate Change and Tourism
A report on climate change and tourism ‘Responding to
Global Challenges’ was commissioned by the World Tourism
Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme and
the World Meteorological Organisation. The report provides
the current state of knowledge on the impacts of climate change
for tourism destinations around the world including implications
for tourist demand and greenhouse gas emissions. It also gives
an overview of future policy and management responses for
adaptation to climate change and mitigation of emissions.
Further information: http://www.unwto.org/sdt/news/en/news_det.php?id=2421
The Tourism Queensland Learning Space incorporates a series
of info sheets and an interactive learning directory that
provides information on learning and skills development opportunities
including courses, resources and assistance. The material
is designed for tourism operators, students and all other
interested in improving their tourism knowledge and skills.
Further information: http://www.tq.com.au/TLS
Health Tourism Industry
An industry panel has been formed by the Australian Tourism
Export Council to help develop the Health and Wellness travel
sector in Australia and tap into the billion-dollar global
Health Tourism industry. The Health and Wellness Tourism Panel
has adopted a strategic framework to develop both the ‘soft’
wellness industry and the surgery-based medical tourism industry.
Further information: http://www.atec.net.au/media_viewarticle_articleid159
Nature-based Tourism Strategy
The Victorian Government has released a Nature-based Tourism
Strategy 2008-2012 which will assist in developing the tourism
potential of Victoria’s natural attractions including
the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, the Grampians, Gippsland
and the High Country. The four-year strategy is backed by
$12.45 million and is being jointly led by Tourism Victoria,
the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks
Victoria. It has been developed following extensive consultation
with the tourism industry, local government and key conservation
Further information: www.tourismvictoria.com.au/naturebasedtourism
Export Market Development
The Export Market Development Grants scheme is an Australian
Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current
exporters. Administered by Austrade, the scheme supports a
wide range of industry sectors and products, including inbound
tourism and the export of intellectual property and know-how
outside Australia. To access the scheme businesses need to
have spent $15,000 over two years on eligible export marketing
expenses. Applications close on 1 December 2008.
Further information: http://www.austrade.gov.au/default.aspx?FolderID=1356
World Heritage Funding
The Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA) has welcomed the
Australian Government’s announcement of $2.7 million
for management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The
funding for the Wet Tropics is part of $13 million allocated
for World Heritage projects in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific.
WTMA is an independent statutory authority established by
agreement between the Australian and Queensland Governments
to meet Australia’s obligations under the World Heritage
Further information: http://www.wettropics.gov.au
Conservation Volunteers and Parks Victoria have joined forces
to offer an opportunity for tourists to experience the Grampians
National Park while monitoring vulnerable and endangered wildlife
in the area. The Naturewise Wildlife Monitoring Ecotour supports
conservation and scientific research through small hands-on
tours which take participants off the beaten track to work
directly with park rangers. In addition to the monitoring
duties, visitors have a chance to explore the remote areas
of the National park including areas that are normally in
accessible to tourist.
Further information: http://www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/volunteer/grampians.htm
& Heritage Tourism
A New Zealand Government funded study is putting more focus
into promoting and developing unique culture and heritage.
Entitled ‘Te Tapoitanga Maori - Growing Regional Maori
Tourism’, the study looked into what visitors want
in a cultural experience and how to support Maori business
development. It involved surveys and in-depth interviews
of tourists and rural Maori tourism businesses throughout
New Zealand. The four year study found Maori tourism is
a largely untapped market in need of strong business development
Further information: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/programme.asp?Proj_Collab_ID=83
Econo Lodge in Australia
Choice Hotels Australasia will add its economy brand, Econo
Lodge to its current product offering as a more affordable
accommodation option to meet growing demand in the marketplace.
The brand is one of its leading economy products in North
America with almost 1000 properties either open or under development.
Econo Lodge hotels will offer between 15 and 30 rooms and
be 3 or 3.5 star rated. The first Australian Econo Lodge is
expected to open in early 2009.
Further information: http://www.econolodge.com/
Eco-Friendly Golf Bag
WILSON Staff has launched the world's first eco friendly golf
bag made from 100 per cent polyester GreenPlus fabric. One
golf bag is made from the equivalent of 12 plastic gallon
bottles, similar to two-litre soda bottles. The process used
to create the bag is said to reduce the release of carbon
dioxide by 70 per cent compared to normal polyester production.
Further information: http://www.wilson.com/intro/golf/staff/index.html
Photo courtesy of Travellers Aid
Launch of Travellers Aid at
Flinders Street Station
Travellers Aid recently launched a vibrant new centre at Flinders
Street Station, Melbourne. Travellers Aid originally operated
at Flinders Street Station until the early 1920's, so the
opening of this new space is seen as an exciting, long-awaited
return to one of Melbourne's most iconic and historically
Services provided by Travellers Aid at Flinders Street Station
include travel and tourist information, personal care and
support, parental needs and internet access. More information
on Travellers Aid at Flinders Street Station can be found
on the official website: www.travellersaid.org.au.
New Carbon Neutral Tourism Website
A new website was launched on World Tourism Day (27 September
2008) as the central gateway for information on solutions
available to help the tourism sector respond to climate change.
Users can learn about climate solutions that are available
including access to resources such as RSS feeds and a Climate
Solutions wiki. The initiative was developed by the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in partnership
Further information: http://www.climatesolutions.travel
|Great Tropical Drive
In a landmark partnership project, Townsville Enterprise
Ltd and Tourism Tropical North Queensland have successfully
developed an iconic tourism drive route, known as the Great
Tropical Drive. Made possible by grant from the Department
of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Great Tropical Drive
program aimed to break down the barriers to regional tourism
growth and achieve on-going momentum through research, planning,
development and marketing.
Tony Charters and Associates recently conducted an independent
review of the project’s implementation and found that
it had successfully met the funding program requirements which
o Establishing the Great Tropical Drive in Queensland as well
as promoting and marketing the Drive this as a world class
drive tourism product;
o developing opportunities to showcase sustainable/ecotourism,
and indigenous tourism in such a way as to provide benefits
to indigenous communities located in the Tropical North of
o supporting the local tourism industry to strategically plan
for and manage the increased visitation achieved arising from
|The Great Tropical Drive project represents a comprehensive
approach to tourism and regional development, through a program
involving tourism destinations, businesses, professionals and
organisations across a region that is diverse in its geography,
natural features and tourism industry.
For more information on the Great Tropical Drive, visit www.greattropicaldrive.com.au
New Investment Guidelines
The Victorian Government has launched new Tourism Investment
Guidelines. The guidelines entitled ‘Your Guide to Tourism
Investment in Victoria’ are intended to assist in advancing
projects from concept through to business planning and statutory
Further information: http://www.tourism.vic.gov.au/images/stories/TourismInvestmentGuidelines.pdf
Pullman Hotel Brand
Accor’s position in the business events sector will
be further enhanced with the launch of the new Pullman hotel
brand. The first Pullman hotel in Australia has opened at
the Sydney Olympic Park major events and meetings precinct.
The Pullman brand is best known for its association with deluxe
railway carriages which changed the face of accommodation
and dining on trains in America, UK and Europe during the
19th and 20th centuries.
Further information: http://www.pullmanhotels.com/gb/home/index.shtml
Caravan and Camping Park
The Victorian Government is providing almost $1.3 million
for upgrades to Victoria’s Crown land caravan and camping
parks. Fifty Victorian tourist parks will receive the grants
to upgrade facilities and improve their environmental performance.
Upgrades to facilities will include water and energy-saving
measures such as water tanks, efficient showerheads, flow
restrictors and energy-efficient light globes. Some projects
will focus on improving sustainability by including dual-flush
toilet cisterns, solar hot water systems or push button shower
Further information: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/minister-for-environment-climate-change/$1.3-million-boost-for-caravan-and-camping-parks.html
and Protected Areas
The World Tourism Organization is organizing a seminar on
‘Ecotourism and Protected Areas’ to be held from
5 to 7 November 2008 in Mozambique. The seminar will be focusing
on the contribution of ecotourism to community development,
poverty reduction and financing of protected areas, as well
as related social and environmental issues. The forum will
address a wide range of questions from high-level tourism
stakeholders to the private and public sector.
Further information: http://www.unwto.org/sdt/events/en/events.php
World Responsible Tourism Day on 12 November 2008 is an initiative
that aims to inspire, educate, challenge and stimulate travel
companies and organisations large and small to take direct
action. It was launched in association with the United Nations
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and is now supported by
the leading industry associations. The program for 2008 will
feature a series of presentations, debates, seminars and workshops
on responsible tourism.
Further information: http://www.wtmwrtd.com
Green Travel, Climate Change
and Ecotourism Conference
Find out the latest information on Sustainable Tourism Strategies
from Local and International Speakers and Network in beautiful
Adelaide, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island
The Inaugural Conference on Green Travel, Climate Change
and Ecotourism will bring together some high profile speakers
to tackle the issues the tourism industry face with changing
legislation and the ever-increasing pressure to become more
sustainable in all aspects of our businesses.
You will have the opportunity to network with speakers and
other delegates throughout an interactive program over the
course of four days. During this time, you will be engaging
with others in a more intimate setting on your selected Regional
Theme Stream, learning about the challenges of the tourism
industry in Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island regions
and how these relate to you.
This will not be just a listening exercise as you will have
the opportunity to participate in discussions and raise questions
to ensure you get the most value out of the event.
Tuesday Night Australian Experiences Gala Dinner, brought
to you by Tourism Australia
The Tuesday night networking function will be held at the
National Wine Centre and is inspired by the 7 core Australian
Experiences. Proudly sponsored by Tourism Australia, it will
be a night to remember – especially for those who walk
away with an Australia eco experience through our live Gala
There are some fantastic holidays on offer which can be viewed
via the following link: ww.ecotourism.org.au/auction.asp.
All 3 Eco Awards will be announced during the event also
– cause for more celebrations!
The dress theme is 1930’s dress inspired by Baz Luhrman’s
movie Australia. So it’s time to get shopping!
For further information and to register online, visit www.ecotourism.org.au/conference.
Here you will find the full program and information on where
to stay while in Adelaide and a list of our Keynote and Concurrent
Australian Protected Areas
This year is the Centenary of National Parks in Queensland
and as part of celebrations the Environmental Protection Agency
is holding the Australian Protected Areas Congress on the
Sunshine Coast from 24 to 28 November. The congress will bring
together experts in protected area management and research
from across the Asia-Pacific region to explore the future
of Australia's protected areas. The congress provides an opportunity
for government, research institutions and non-government organisations
to share the knowledge and thinking on terrestrial, freshwater
and marine protected areas.
Further information: http://www.apac08.org.au/
Sustainable Travel International has launched a new campaign
‘Ride Local’ to educate communities and the general
public about the benefits of sustainable transportation and
highlighting bicycling industry green business practices.
The Ride Local website features only bicycle manufacturers,
shops and tour providers that have implemented sustainable
business practices allowing cyclists to make informed purchasing
decisions that align with their personal values.
Further information: http://www.ridelocal.org/