Eco-Friendly Hotel Goes Underground in the Alps

Milan-based architect Matteo Thun has created a new KlimaHotel in Bozen, Italy, which will be the first eco-friendly hotel with a holistic approach to sustainability.

The design consists of 11 individual hostels built into the Italian hillside that make use of renewable sources for energy and make use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling.

The hotel will be constructed using locally sourced materials and is expected to be finished in 2011.

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Pre-Flight Tension Survey

A survey into the patterns and levels of anxiety that travellers experience prior to flying has identified that one in four Australian travellers suffer from varying degrees of stress or 'pre-flight tension' (PFT).

The survey has revealed that the most common sufferers were those who travel three to four times a year as opposed to occasional travellers.

The survey revealed several symptoms including "Obsessive Passport Disorder" which is characterised by constantly checking for passports and other important travel documents.

The research was conducted by Sydney Airport with a sample of 300 men and women aged between 18 and 59.

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Hotel Energy Solutions

Hotel Energy Solutions is an initiative proposed by United Nations World Tourism Organisation as an industry response to climate imperatives and the Davos Process.

The project is co-funded by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, and is designed to drive the competitiveness and sustainability of the accommodation sector by delivering practical tools to encourage small and medium enterprises hotels to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energies.

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National Long Term Tourism Strategy

The National Long Term Tourism Strategy outlines the long-term policy framework and positioning for the Australian tourism industry.

The Tourism Ministers’ Council is leading implementation of the strategy via 41 practical actions which will benefit everyone from the smallest tourism businesses through to the largest multinational companies.

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Refocusing Tourism in Western Australia

The Board of Tourism Western Australia has announced a new strategy to transform the agency with the goal of doubling the tourism industry’s $7.3 billion a year contribution to the State’s economy by 2020.

Tourism WA will implement a new business model following a review of tourism in the State involving extensive engagement with the industry.

It will focus on three core functions - marketing the State; developing, attracting and promoting major events; and developing significant tourism infrastructure and projects.

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Sustainable Meeting Guidelines

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is launching a Sustainable Meeting Practices program globally in 2011.

The new initiative incorporates five core environmentally friendly components: paperless meeting planning, sustainable meeting services, sustainable food and beverage practices, impact assessment tools, and socially conscious activities.

Each component has been designed to enhance meetings while being cost-effective and operationally efficient. Starwood has also introduced the Meeting Impact Report an internal online tool that generates a report for clients showing the environmental impact of their meetings.

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Vacation Deprivation Survey

The annual Expedia Vacation Deprivation survey has found that working Australians aged between 18 to 34 are twice as likely not to take all their annual leave, as they are scared they may miss out on important decisions at work.

Among the 13 countries surveyed, Australia is the third-most holiday-deprived nation, behind Japan and the US respectively.

France, for the fourth consecutive year, has bagged the top ranking as the world’s most holiday-rich nation, with the average worker receiving 37.5 annual leave days per year.

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Travel Management Scorecard

A new report produced by American Express Business Travel examines how corporations have adapted their travel programs in response to the economic downturn.

The report ‘Managing Travel in the New Normal’ provides insight into a variety of areas including the traveller-centric future of managed travel, the move toward mandating policy and supplier compliance, a willingness of companies to make technology investments to support travel and centralised virtual meetings.

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Offsetting Carbon Emissions

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The Biggest Carbon Loser Challenge

Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages, based in the Scenic Rim region has won The Biggest Carbon Loser Challenge, a state-funded initiative encouraging Scenic Rim operators to reduce their long-term carbon footprint. Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages came up against 13 other eligible operators and won the challenge by reducing their estimated annual carbon footprint by 10,250kg.

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Tourism Development Toolkit

The Tourism Development Toolkit is a unique aid developed to encourage and inspire communities, groups and individuals to discover their tourism potential.

The Do-It-Yourself toolkit guide provides easy processes and ideas of how to form the basis of a tourism plan and ways to achieve outcomes.

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New Great Walk

The new Cooloola Great Walk on the Sunshine Coast offers a stunning five-day trek with opportunities to camp in remote areas of the Cooloola National Park.

The 102km walk links the Noosa North Shore to Rainbow Beach to the upper Noosa River and Poona Lake.

Walkers pass through a diverse range of scenery including tall eucalypt forest, dry coastal woodlands, heathland plains, rainforest, perched lakes, high dunes and lookouts.

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Pack for a Purpose

Pack for a Purpose is a newly founded non-profit organisation dedicated to providing educational materials and medical supplies to children in destinations around the world by using a small amount space in luggage for supplies.

The organisation's website lists by country the travel and accommodations providers, along with their contact information who support legitimate educational and medical community projects.

To participate, travellers visit the site find a listing for their destination and carry the requested supplies in their luggage to drop off when they arrive.

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The Green Wave

Airlines around the world have joined aircraft manufacturer Airbus in backing a global United Nations campaign during the International Year of Biodiversity. Activities include the ongoing Green Wave program which is designed to educate the world’s youth about biodiversity and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The International Year of Biodiversity was launched to promote the protection of biodiversity and encourage organisations, institutions, companies and individuals to take direct action to reduce its loss worldwide.

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Maldives Floating Islands

The Maldives have come up with an innovative new approach to tackling climate change and rising sea waters.

The government and Dutch Docklands/Dutch Watervalley have signed an agreement to develop several floating facilities for some of the 1,200 islands including a convention centre and golf courses.

While exact design details are still unavailable, Dutch Docklands have created in the past water developments using methods and procedures that reduce impact on underwater life and minimize changes to coastal morphology.

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The Oz Planner

Tourism Australia has released its first iPhone application which uses mapping technology to give travellers in Australia access to product listings such as tour providers, accommodation and car hire.

The Oz Planner will offer travellers a range of Australian Journeys, which travellers can navigate through to find highlights, images and suggested activities.

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Regional Australia Thrown into the Spotlight

Australia has a highly urbanized population and it is often seen as city centric in its decision making.   Regional Australia is often relegated to nostalgia and our sense of a bush heritage.   It is sobering to note that in 2007 the ABS identified only 18 non capital cities in Australia with populations exceeding 70 000 people; this number reaches 36 if cities over 30 000 are included. The last few years however have seen the bush thrown into a new spotlight. 

In considering a big Australia and more recently a sustainable Australia, stronger relationships are now being drawn between resource growth and development and the impacts  for regional communities; population growth and regionalism;  northern Australia and global shipping;  food security and land use.
SEGRA has been at the forefront of these issues for well over a decade.  Pioneering the links between policy, research, and practice SEGRA offers a unique opportunity to consider these critical issues at macro and micro levels.  In plenary sessions, speakers of national standing will be contributing their ideas and expertise around a range of cutting edge national issues:  growth management, limits to growth, population dispersal, maritime policy and remote Australia. In the concurrent sessions delegates will be able to choose from over 40 practitioners’ presentations demonstrating locality based responses and to the range of challenges regions confront. 

This year many regions will be presenting on their strategic planning for sustainable economic development – attracting investment, securing infrastructure, achieving regional and inter-regional cooperation at government, community and business levels.  Other papers will provide insights into developing community capacity, community well being and services. Speakers will present innovative responses to energy provision, network business development and green industry development.  The conference also examines leverage use and regional arts programs. Delegates will have the opportunity to hear ideas first hand, what worked, what didn’t, what next.

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Focus on Ecotourism

Noosa is set to become the focus of all things ecotourism with the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference being held from 24-28 October 2010 at the newly opened eco-development: Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa in Noosa, Queensland.

The conference program is set to offer industry professionals with an outstanding keynote program featuring national and international leaders in their field addressing Sustainability, Best Practice Operator Case Studies, Green Marketing and more.

Erika Harms, Executive Director – Tourism Sustainability Council (USA) will provide an insight into standards, protocols, processes and measurements for how businesses can practice sustainable tourism.

A successful operator perspective will be provided by Kauahi Ngapora, Chief Operating Officer at Kaikoura Whale Watch, an award winning 100% Maori owned whale watch company. An inspirational tale of how Kaikoura Whale Watch has developed into a key contributor to the development of people, industry and community.

The Theme Streams will address a range of topics from Experiencing Tourism in Protected Areas; Strategic Partnerships Delivering Sustainable Tourism; and Sustainability and Climate Change, to Interpretation Enhancing Experiential Tourism and Marketing and Creating Memorable Experiences

Day four is dedicated to the Indigenous Tourism Forum, focusing on the valuable economic contributions that indigenous communities can receive from tourism; the fulfillment of positive reconciliation actions; and  the competitive advantage Indigenous participation in tourism provides for Australia.

This year being acclaimed the International Year of Biodiversity by UNESCO, Global Eco will also feature a Biosphere Managers Workshop focusing on case studies of UNESCO Biospheres as living examples of Education for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity.

For the conference program and registration please visit

Future of Tourism Pushing New Frontiers

The breath-taking animation of the elegant “Aircruise”, flying hotel concept encapsulated the Eighth National Tourism Futures conference held 5-7 July at Brisbane’s South Bank.

Design Director Nick Talbot of Seymourpowell UK, roused the imagination of delegates by presenting the next generation of transport – a low-impact, ultra-luxurious floating ‘Aircruise’ hotel.

Photo from left: Nick Talbot Design Director Seymourpowell; Xu Jing Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific UNWTO; Taleb Rifai Secretary General UNWTO; and Tony Charters Convenor Tourism Futures; at The Head, Killarney

Attended by around 350 tourism industry heavy-weights from government and the private sector, as well as an impressive delegation from New Zealand, the Tourism Futures program delved into the future of tourism innovation and also closely examined the latest consumer trends, online developments and research.

Nurturing indigenous Australian tourism operators was another key point of action taken from the conference. While many hurdles remain, the desire to foster aspiring indigenous operators and support those already participating in the tourism industry is now evident across the breadth of Australia’s tourism instrumentalities.

The might of the cyber-world was on full display on Day 3 at the conference as the latest permutations of social networking and online might were expounded.

For more news from Tourism Futures 2010 please visit

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Managers Workshop

Linking this year with the Global Eco Conference is the inaugural UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Managers Workshop. The Workshop has a full program including a field trip to the Noosa Biosphere and keynote addresses by Dr. Ishwaran the Director of UNESCO's MAB program and key experts associated with the nomination of the Noosa and Great Sandy Biosphere Reserves.

The workshop will develop a methodology for Biosphere managers to begin preparing case studies on their reserves, including full participation and discussion of comparative experience. 

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Australian Wildlife Tourism Conference

Wildlife Tourism Australia is holding its 3rd Conference on 1-3 September 2010 at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, Queensland. The conference will showcase and explore the diversity of positive impacts that are produced by sustainable wildlife tourism.

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World Tourism Day

This year’s official World Tourism Day celebrations will be hosted by China on 27 September 2010 under the theme of Tourism and Biodiversity.

It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the close relationship between tourism development and biodiversity conservation while encouraging continued support of global efforts to sustain life on Earth.

The World Tourism Day Think Tank will also take place alongside a series of cultural events organized by the Chinese Government.

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Interpretation Australia National Symposium

Interpretation Australia is holding its 18th National Symposium in Launceston, Tasmania from 10-12 November 2010. The conference will address natural and cultural heritage interpretation through keynote speakers, presentations, workshops, field trips and events at interpretive sites.

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