Destination Stewardship Think Tank

Tony Charters facilitated a Destination Stewardship Think Tank in November hosted by Royal Caribbean Cruises aboard their new flagship Oasis of the Sea.

The Think Tank involved luminaries from the world of sustainable tourism in an open forum focused on defining how the travel and tourism industry can support destination stewardship.

From left Brian Mullis, Tony Charters, Jamie Sweeting and Peter Krahenbuhl – convenor and facilitators of the Destination Stewardship Think Tank.

Attendees included:

  • Giulia Carbone, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Sarah Dayboll, Fairmont Raffles Hotel International
  • Randall Durband, Tauck & Partners LLC
  • Thomas Enderlin, Rainforest Alliance
  • Megan Epler Wood, Eplerwood International
  • Erika Harms, United Nations Foundation
  • Donald Hawkins, George Washington University
  • Julie Klein, Rock Resorts International
  • Peter Krahenbul, Sustainable Travel International
  • David Krantz, Center for Responsible Travel
  • Seleni Matus, Conservation International
  • Thomas Meller, Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative
  • Brian Mullis, Sustainable Travel International
  • Bambi Semroc, Conservation International
  • Hank Stewart, Green Team USA
  • Jamie Sweeting, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (Host and Convenor)
  • Robin Tauck, Tauck & Partners LLC

The think tank focused on ways and means of co-ordinating efforts to achieve better destination stewardship and making available practical tools and methods for destinations around the globe to use or modify for local conditions.



Sustaining Conference Centres

The International Association of Conference Centres has implemented a Code of Sustainability that encourages member properties to follow environmentally sound practices. The code consists of 59 practices that include waste management, recycling, water conservation, energy management, air quality, and food and beverage.

Further information:

Eco-Ratings Car Rental Guide

DriveNow is the first website to provide a calculation of a vehicle's Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas emission scores across multiple car rental fleets.

The Eco-Ratings Car Rental Guide helps determine the Greenhouse Carbon Emissions of each rental vehicle as all vehicles in Australia are subject to a set of national standards covering environmental and safety standards.

Further information:

Grow Me the Money

Grow Me the Money is a program that provides advice on how to save money and reduce the environmental impact of business. It is designed for small to medium sized businesses in regional or metropolitan areas that have access to their energy and water bills and have been operating for at least 12 months.

The program was developed in partnership with the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Environment Protection Authority Victoria under a Sustainability Covenant.

Further information:



WTTC Announces International Judging Panel for 2010
Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Application still open until 14 December 2009 – Don’t miss your chance!

Each year, tourism companies, travel organisations and destinations from around the world submit entries for consideration by the renowned team of judges, who identify global leaders in sustainable tourism development to be recognised by the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. This year's deadline for applications is Monday 14 December 2009.


The Awards have gained international recognition and credibility thanks to a rigorous judging process. This includes a thorough review of each award application followed by an on-site evaluation of all Award finalists, conducted by a global panel of experts in sustainable tourism.

"With each passing year the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards continue to set new standards in recognising the highest level of sustainable tourism innovation in the Travel & Tourism industry," said Costas Christ, Chairman of the Judges, and an internationally acclaimed expert in sustainable tourism. 

"At the heart of the Awards is an expert judging panel representing countries from all around the world and an on-site evaluation process of Award finalists to document their sustainable tourism practices in action," Costas added. 

"There is no doubt that what we are witnessing today may be the most significant transformation in the history of modern travel – the emergence of sustainable tourism principles and practices across the full spectrum of Travel & Tourism from small and medium-sized businesses to large-scale hospitality and travel corporations."


Zakoura Foundation for Micro Credits, Morocco – 2009 winner of the Community Benefit Award

The judges on the Finalist Selection Committee for 2010 are:

  • Tony Charters, Principal, Tony Charters & Associates, Australia
  • Jena Gardner, President, JG Blackbook of Travel, and President, The Bodhi Tree Foundation, USA
  • Erika Harms, Executive Director for Sustainable Development, United Nations Foundation – World Heritage Alliance, USA/Costa Rica
  • Marilú Hernández, President, Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya, Mexico
  • Dr  Janne J Liburd, Associate Professor and Director of Research, Centre for Tourism, Culture and Innovation, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  • Mahen Sanghrajka, Chairman, Big Five Tours & Expeditions, USA/Kenya
  • Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya, Chief of Party, Uganda Sustainable Tourism Program, Uganda
  • Mandip Singh Soin FRGS, Founder & Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions (P) Ltd, India
  • Shannon Stowell, President, Adventure Travel Trade Association, USA
  • Jamie Sweeting, Vice President, Environmental Stewardship and Global Chief Environmental Officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises, USA
  • Albert Teo, Managing Director, Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia
  • Mei Zhang, Founder, Wildchina, China


Flight Tracking Application

FlightAware, the world leader in flight tracking with over two million monthly users has released the first-ever free flight tracking application for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

Users are able to track the real-time status and position of airline and private flights in the United States. Included with the application is a full screen tracking map that includes aircraft position, speed, altitude and weather.

FlightAware has become a crucial tool for business travellers, aircraft operators and pilots who will be able to access valuable FlightAware data for free where the iPhone has connectivity.

Further information:


World Heritage Island

Western Australia has announced a new national park will be created on Dirk Hartog Island, part of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

The new national park will cover almost the entire area of the 63,000 hectare island, protecting its unique environmental, cultural and historical assets, and creating a draw card for nature-based tourism.

Further information:


Extreme Golf
The Legend Golf & Safari Resort located in South Africa has created an extreme 19th hole. Set high up on the Hanglip Mountain and accessible only by helicopter, the par 3 hole is played from a vertical height of 430 metres.

Taking almost 30 seconds for the ball to reach the ground, it is considered the most difficult golf shot in the world is worth over $US1million for a hole in one. Golfers have the opportunity to tee off from one of three tee boxes and follow the flight of the ball via four separate cameras and tracking equipment. The fairway is contoured to funnel the ball to the green below.

Further information:



Worst Airport in the World

Heathrow airport has again been voted the worst airport in the world, according to a global poll of airline passengers. The survey of members of Priority Pass, the world's leading independent airport lounge programme, included responses from 160 countries.

Charles de Gaulle airport, in Paris, was voted second worst, followed by Los Angeles, Frankfurt International and Miami International. Singapore Changi, a perennial favourite, finished top, followed closely by Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok.

Sydney Airport was the highest ranked for Australia at number 43.

Further information:




HMAS Canberra

The decommissioned Royal Australian Navy warship, the HMAS Canberra has been sunk off Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The 4,100 tonne, 138 metre long and 30 metre high ship now rests approximately three kilometres from shore in an area known as the Ships Graveyard, with 46 other discarded vessels from a century of shipping.

Studies by Tourism Victoria estimate the dive site will generate a net economic benefit of around $1.3 million per annum for the region.

The ship was gifted to Victoria by the Commonwealth Government who is providing $1.5 million towards the project.

Further information:



Low Cost Hotels

The new low-cost Tune Hotel is the brainchild of AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes. With a no-star rating, a standard room comes with a 5-star queen bed, a hot "power shower" and a ceiling fan. The no-frills hotel has no television, refrigerator or kettle and extras such as towels and air conditioning come at a cost.

Similar to low-cost airlines, the hotels employ a self-service online booking system and rates are kept low by offering limited service.

The first Tune hotel opened in May 2007 and the company plans to have 150 hotels around the world by 2012 with Australia and the UK in their sights.

Further information:




Eco Helpline

Launched in September the Eco Helpline is the world's first free online Eco Course to help people and businesses go green.

The primary focus is to provide management and staff of a hotel, lodge or resort with free online Eco Best Practices Courses.

Further information:




Brand Australia

The Australian Government has announced the advisory panel that will help oversee the tender for a new national brand and four-year, $20 million campaign to sell Australia.

Chaired by David Mortimer, the panel includes Sandra Chipchase, Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO; Margaret Gardner, RMIT Vice Chancellor & President; Mark Johnson, Australian Financial Forum Chairman; Rob Murray, Lion Nathan CEO; Michael Luscombe, Woolworths CEO; and Peter Yuile, Austrade Deputy CEO.

The winner of the tender is expected to be announced in February, 2010.

Further information:

Wilderness Retreats Campaign

Parks Victoria has launched a new marketing campaign for the high-yield, double-income-no-kids target market that showcases Wilderness Retreats as a luxury accommodation option for those wanting to experience nature with all of the creature comforts.

Located at Wilsons Promontory National Park, Cape Conran Coastal Park and Buchan Caves, the Wilderness Retreats offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature while staying in high comfort, low impact, safari-style tents.

Further information:


Crisis Essentials Guide for Tourism

The Victorian Government has launched the Crisis Essentials guide for tourism businesses to assist in preparing, responding and recovering from events like bushfires.

The guide was developed to inform tourism operators about how to protect their business in the event of a crisis and includes advice on risk management; developing a plan; communicating to customers; and ensuring business continuity following an emergency.

The guide is available to all Victorian tourism businesses and will be supported by a series of briefings and workshops for tourism businesses located in high fire risk areas.


Further information:



Shark Bay World Heritage Drive

Shark Bay now offers a 130 kilometre drive that encompasses the world heritage features of the region including the Hamelin Pool stromatolites, Shell Beach, Peron Homestead Precinct, the world heritage discovery centre and Monkey Mia.

Further information:


Papers Available - Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference 2009

An international delegation of over 220 leaders in sustainability gathered in Alice Springs Australia recently to discuss the latest issues and opportunities across sustainability, ecotourism, tourism in protected areas and climate change response.

These were further discussed during the Theme Stream Workshops on Day Two providing further discussion and tangible outcomes for delegates to implement in their organisations and operations. 

Over 60 papers from Keynote and Theme Stream presenters provided delegates with an outstanding array of the latest approaches to sustainable tourism.


Photo: Costas Christ, Global Travel Editor - National Geographic Adventure

The proceedings of the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference 2009 will be available online from Friday 4th of December 2009.

Proceedings will be available for delegates with password access and a CD Rom of the proceedings will be available for purchase and will include PowerPoint presentations of the national and international keynote speakers featured during the two plenary days as well as presentations from the various Theme Stream Workshops.

For further information on Global Eco visit

Rethinking Coastal Tourism Development Symposium

The Centre for Responsible Travel is hosting the Rethinking Coastal Tourism Development Symposium at Stanford University from 20-22 January, 2010.

The symposium is designed for developers, architects, hoteliers, bankers and investors, and other business executives committed to or interested in pursuing new models of marine, coastal, and island development.

This event will bring together professionals and experts in sustainable coastal resort, second home design, construction, financing, as well as management of sustainable recreational activities.


Further information:


International Summit on Tourism, Sports & Mega Events

The world’s first international Tourism, Sport and Mega-events Summit will be held in Sandton, South Africa from 24-26 February, 2010.

The summit will provide a forum to consider the impact of mega events including economic, social and environmental consequences for host nations.

The UNWTO is also looking to create a framework for leveraging sport and other mega-events (including cultural and entertainment events, exhibitions and business conventions) for economic growth.


Further information:


Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress

The inaugural Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress will be held in Melbourne from 11-16 April, 2010.Organised by Parks Victoria for congress aims to provide a better understanding of how the natural environment can benefit a range of other societal matters including health, local economies and social cohesion. It’s expected to attract over 1000 delegates from Australia and across the world.

Further information: