ASEAN: Heart of Green
Tony Charters recently attended the ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) as part of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Brunei Darussalam. During the one day conference panellists and leading experts discussed the conference theme ASEAN: Heart of Green.

Hitesh Mehta – Director, HM Design – provided a keynote address focusing on Sustainable Tourism in Transboundary Conservation Areas. Hitesh’s keynote address demonstrated how Sustainable Tourism in Transboundary Parks is creatively merging the opportunities that ASEAN offers with economics and planning, that can lead to successful low impact tourism destinations. As well as an approach that addresses the quadruple bottom line of sustainable tourism development, economic , environmental, social and spiritual sustainability as a new way to physically plan Transboundary Parks.

Tony Charters was invited to participate in a panel following Mr Mehta’s keynote address together with Dato Paduka HJ Hamdillah b Hj Adb Wahab, Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary Resources cum Chairman - Brunei Tourism Board and Mr Anthony Wong, Managing Director - Asian Overland Services.
The panel expanded on the keynote address, ASEAN and The Heart of Green, in discussing best practices for sustainable development of tourism infrastructure, proper guidelines in developing and branding eco-lodges and resorts and supporting transboundary green initiatives.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum is the annual convention of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) tourism industry, promoting the exchange of ideas, review of industry developments and joint formulation of specific recommendations to further accelerate the growth of ASEAN tourism. The hosting is rotated among the member countries each year.

Western Australia Sustainable Travel Guide

Tourism Western Australia has teamed up with to create a sustainable travel guide to Western Australia.

The guide includes video, podcasts, travel secrets from locals and suggested itineraries.

The guide highlights the best natural and cultural experiences in Western Australia from camping in national parks and swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef to discovering the Aboriginal heritage of the Bungle Bungles.

All accommodation and tours featured have been selected on the basis of a responsible travel policy and ability to offer a distinctive travel experience that benefits the local community, while sustaining the area's natural and cultural heritage.

Further information:



Regional Aviation Initiative

The Australian Government has announced new measures to make regional destinations more attractive to international airlines and tourists.

Foreign airlines that make stopovers in regional airports such as Cairns, Broome and Darwin will be offered greater access to the major international gateways of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth under the plans announced by the Federal Government.

This is about improving the commercial potential of services to Australia’s regional airports and encouraging tourism and investment into regional economies.

Further information:

National Long Term Tourism Strategy

The Australian Government has released the National Long Term Tourism Strategy.

The Strategy provides a work plan for skills, infrastructure and removing barriers to investment in the tourism sector.

It also includes a stronger research capability for the tourism industry.

Tourism Australia will be represented on a number of the working groups established to deliver the Strategy outcomes.

Further information:


Online Day Spa Magazine

Australian spa culture is set for a big boost with the launch of an online day spa guide. This one stop shop lists every day spa and spa resort in Australia in an easy-search format including a fully integrated Google Maps system.

Some of Australia's top spa and travel writers have contributed news, reviews, spa stories and blog entries to the site. The guide also features reviews and articles about overseas spas, as well as a Facebook page and the Australian Day Spa Network on LinkedIn.

Further information:


Inflight Recycling

Qantas has launched a new domestic onboard recycling initiative that builds upon existing programs and the goal of achieving a 25 per cent reduction to landfill by 2011.

Under the new initiative approximately eight and a half million bottles, cups, tumblers and cans per year will be recycled from domestic services.

Qantas has partnered with Closed Loop Recycling an industry leader in recycling solutions and environmentally sustainable packaging in the development of this program.

Further information:
Reversing the Effect

Queensland motorists can reduce their vehicles' carbon footprint by getting involved with Reverse the Effect a new initiative of the Queensland Government to help balance the impact of their vehicle emissions on the environment.

Queensland motorists can make a voluntary tax deductible donation which is calculated on an estimated carbon footprint of average use of different vehicle sizes as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Queensland Government will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions made to the program up to a total of $4.5 million over the next 5 years.

Further information:



Customer Service Pulse Survey

Australian AussieHost and JRA are conducting a national survey to benchmark perceptions of customer service quality throughout Australia.

Results and useful insights will be published and available free of charge to businesses.

Further information: https://www.survey-


Koala Conservation Centre opens to visitors

The Koala Conservation Centre at Phillip Island which opened in December 2009 is a new addition to the Phillip Island Nature Park.

The centre connects with elevated boardwalks allowing visitors to walk amongst the gums and be face to face with 40 koalas roaming in their natural habitat.

The site also boasts new exhibits featuring large interpretive and interactive displays, as well as an alfresco dining area for visitors and locals to enjoy.

Further information:


ABBA Experience

An interactive exhibition dedicated to the band ABBA has opened at Earls Court's Museum Hall.


The ABBAWORLD experience will comprise exclusive music, footage, images and never-before-displayed memorabilia from the personal collections of pop icons Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Frida.

The phenomenon of ABBA will be brought to life with interactive highlights including 'Perform with ABBA' which will allow fans to get up on stage with their idols, as part of a 3D holographic illusion.

Further information:

Sleeping In Airports

A new website is aimed at people who have to sleep in an airport because they are stranded or have an early flight and don't want to pay for a bed.

The site has more than 65,000 reviews, information on individual airports and tips on getting a good night's sleep in any airport. Singapore's Changi got the nod for the best airport with budget travellers liking the snooze chairs and 24-hour massage stations.

Charles De Gaulle in Paris was voted the worst airport. Further information:



Grants Program

The Australian Government has approved over $8 million in funding for a total of 70 projects designed to strengthen the diversity and quality of Australia’s tourism industry.

The aim of the grants is to stimulate sustainable growth by supporting innovative, high-quality tourism products that contribute to the long-term economic development of Australia.

The T-Qual program will be evaluated in early 2010 and future funding arrangements will be considered as part of budget deliberations.


Further information: tourism_programs/tqual/Pages/default.aspx


Travel Trends Research
Trafalgar Tours has released the second series of their Travel Trends research, revealing holiday makers over 40 rate value for money as their primary influence when booking a holiday, instead of low cost or tactical deals.

The research, conducted by Galaxy, revealed the top three elements which consumers rated value for money included all-inclusive packages, favourable exchange rates and discounted airfares.

Further information:


Destination Stewardship Survey

The National Geographic Traveller magazine in conjunction with the National Geographic Society's Centre for Sustainable Destinations undertakes the Destination Stewardship survey to provide insight into how key sites are standing up to the pressures of tourism and climate change.

In 2009, a panel of 437 travel experts from the sustainable tourism industry surveyed 133 destinations.


The ratings were based on six criteria including environmental and ecological quality, social and cultural integrity, condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites, aesthetic appeal, quality of tourism management and outlook for the future.

Further information:


Sustainable Tourism Companies

International conservation group Rainforest Alliance and voluntourism organisation Planeterra have signed an agreement to promote Costa Rican tourism businesses that have achieved a Tourism Sustainability Certificate awarded by the Costa Rican Tourism Board or that Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Tourism program.

Founded in 2003 by Gap Adventures, Planeterra is a non-profit organisation dedicated to sustainable community development through travel and will join 40 other international tour operators in Europe and North America working with the Rainforest Alliance.

Further information:

StarLight Tourism Certification System

The StarLight Tourism Certification System is bringing together two elements of contemporary society - science and tourism.

The StarLight Certification sets a model for the use of science both as a resource for tourism and an essential part of sustainable tourism practices.

Photo: Dr. Francisco Sánchez, Canary Islands; Eduardo Fayos-Solà, UNWTO-World Tourism Organization; Cipriano Marín, StarLight Initiative; and Antonio Gallardo, Fuerteventura Unesco Biosphere Reserve

It aims to ensure the quality of tourism experiences involving the nightscapes, the view of stars and the cosmos and the related scientific, cultural and environmental knowledge.

Further information:


Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award

The 2010 Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award is a collaborative effort between and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity with the support of the Heidehof Foundation.

The award is aimed at private tourism services owned and operated by indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles.

It aims to improve online communication, highlight best practice in managing tourism and raise awareness for biological and cultural diversity.


Further information:


Calling all Tourism Experts!

You are invited to offer a paper for presentation on Day 1 or Day 3 of the Tourism Futures National Conference 2010 - a fantastic opportunity to bring your knowledge to the industry and gain exposure.

Tourism Futures, Australia's premier National Tourism Conference, brings together the key players who drive Australia's tourism industry - the operators, infrastructure builders, investors, policy makers, researchers and marketers. 

Play your part in driving innovation for the Australian Tourism industry. Deadline for call for papers is 27 February 2010

Further information:


First Class Environmental Design

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre have recently won the Urban Development Institute of Australia Environmental Excellence Award.

It is the 6th major environmental award for the centre’s environmental features including the use of radiant slab heating and cooling; solar panelling; a black water treatment facility; the use of low Volatile Organic Compounds; natural light; and an extensive waste separation program.

Melbourne is also the world’s first convention centre to be awarded a 6-Star Green Star environmental rating.

Further Information:
/About/MCEC/ Environmental-Initiatives.html


Green Economy Initiative

A new travel and tourism climate change initiative entitled ‘Live the Deal’ was launched during the Copenhagen Climate Summit late last year.

The innovative global campaign is designed to help travel companies and destinations respond to climate change, reduce their carbon footprint and move to the green economy.

Performance will be recorded, tracked against national Copenhagen Process commitments and supported through an on-line carbon emissions measurement tool, annual report, think tank and annual global conference.

Further information:


Naturebank Accommodation Opportunity

Expressions of Interest are invited from suitably qualified individuals and organisations to develop and operate a nature based tourism operation in Purnululu National Park as part of the Western Australian Naturebank program.

The opportunity is for commercial visitor accommodation facilities and associated tourism activities within the park.

Further information: http://www.dec.

/view/2274/1669/ (EOI pdf)


New Social Media Website for Travel

Zurround is a new "rich media" social network travel website that represents "word of mouth" for travellers by allowing people to share their travel experiences with each other via photos, videos, maps and recommendations by providing a single location to tie them all together.

It features custom-built technology that integrates all of the popular social media websites; Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Google Maps.

It was established in 2007 by the brain child of a former IBM employee and hardcore traveller, Peter Scheffer.

Further information:


Leading Travel Conservation Foundation

The Leading Travel Companies Conservation Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2008 to support the development of long-term, sustainable tourism globally.

It contributes US$1 million per year to support threatened communities, natural environments and historic sites all over the world including million hectares of Atlantic Forest in Brazil and sustainable indigenous tourism in Australia’s Kimberley region.

Further information:


Driving Tourism Innovation
Tourism Futures 2010 is gearing up to be another fantastic event!

This year, Tourism Futures will feature an outstanding array of international and local speakers who will tackle the challenges and outline opportunities facing our industry today. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in workshops with tourism industry leaders and network with fellow industry members.   

Staged from 5-7 July 2010 in Brisbane's Southbank, Tourism Futures will provide cutting edge best practice updates with a strong focus on the future. Topics include: Destination Management and Sustainability; Consumer Research and Market Winning Insights; Education Tourism; Achieving a Competitive Edge; and Tourism Online.

With the tourism industry entering a new decade, this is an event not to be missed!

Register online now or find out more at:

WTTC Announces Shortlist of Finalists for 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announced the 12 finalists for the 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. Under WTTC’s stewardship since 2003, the prestigious Awards recognise best practice in sustainable tourism in four different categories – Destination Stewardship, Conservation, Community Benefit and Global Tourism Business. Over 160 entries were received this year from over 45 countries.

The 2010 Finalists are:
Destination Stewardship Award
Botswana Tourism Board, Botswana –
Ministry of Tourism, Montenegro –
Mount Huangshan Scenic Site, China –

Conservation Award
Emirates Hotels & Resorts, UAE –
Inkaterra Perú SAC, Peru –
Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania –

Community Benefit Award
Namibia's Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector / NACSO, Namibia –
Tourindia, India –
Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd, New Zealand –

Global Tourism Business Award

Accor, France & Global – 
Banyan Tree Holdings, Singapore & Global –
Wilderness Safaris, South Africa & Global –  

Further information:

World's Largest Tourism Convention

The ITB Berlin Convention 2010 will be held from 10 to 12 March, 2010 and will highlight the effects of the financial and economic crisis on tourism, the structural changes in society, and shifts in travel patterns.

More than 200 leading speakers and panel guests will present topics and discuss the latest industry knowledge and future of travel at around 100 events.

Further information:



International Environment & Health Congress

The inaugural International Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress will be held from 11-16 April, 2010 in Melbourne.

This event will explore the themes of healthy communities, healthy parks, healthy participation and healthy people.

Key speakers include American futurist and author Richard Louv, Harvard Medical School’s Aaron Bernstein, Howard Frumkin from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Natural England's Dr William Bird, Author and Climate Activist Tim Flannery and business woman Janet Holmes à Court.

Further information:


Geotourism Conference

The Second Global Geotourism Conference will be held in Sarawak, Malaysia from 17-20 April, 2010.

It will follow on from the 4th International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks being held in Langkawi from 10-15 April 2010.

Further information:
geotourism .com/about.php

Countrylink Outback Symposium

This is the Outback Tourism event of the year, tailored to country & remote businesses needing to stay ahead of the changes for tourism growth and survival.

This conference will put you in touch with key professionals from the industry that will change your thinking for 2010 and make your business more successful.

Further information: