Leading Innovation in 2011

As an industry, in 2010 tourism saw the surging strength of the Australian dollar creating a new dynamic for the industry – with winners and losers – depending on your place in the industry. For Australian travellers there is now a huge array of affordable travel choices within budget reach.

Travelling to exotic overseas destinations where costs are very low creates a whole new set of competitors for Australian tourism operators.

Concurrently though, Australians are faced with higher mortgage commitments through rising interest rates. Discretionary income is on the decline for many Australian families. Competition from other consumer goods for a slice of discretionary income will reach new highs, while domestic travel continues to fall short of its consumer expenditure potential.

2011 will bring more intense competition and challenges in addition to growth opportunities. To meet these challenges and embrace opportunities presented to the industry, we must: drive product innovation and invest in product renewal; increase the yield on existing products; and analyse current market demands to effectively place our products and build on our attraction strategies.

While the 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.

Australia must focus on building its product base around its unique strengths to become the global leader in these fields.

Tony Charters


Great Barrier Reef Marine Tourism Environmental Response Plan

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority recently contracted Tony Charters and Associates to develop, in conjunction with key tourism stakeholders, a framework of coordinated responses to potential environmental incidents (such as coral bleaching and severe cyclones).

The plan will provide a process for assessing incident impacts on the tourism industry; developing coordinated responses to assist in managing these impacts; and supporting industry recovery.

The project will also involve updating the Marine Tourism Contingency Plan (2004) which provides a process for operators to access alternative sites in situations where there primary site has been severely degraded or is inaccessible after an environmental incident.

Further information on Tony Charters and Associates consultancies:

Tourism Potential

A new strategic approach aimed at doubling overnight expenditure for Australia’s tourism industry from $70 billion to $140 billion by 2020 was unveiled at the inaugural Australian Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra.

The 2020 Tourism Industry Potential work is an initiative of Tourism Australia, with assistance from the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism, working across all levels of government and industry.

It follows the launch of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy in December 2009 and the Jackson Report, which identified the value of targets and goals for the industry.

Further information: http://www.tourism.australia.com/en-au/documents/



STA Travel the world’s largest student, youth and budget travel organisation has announced a partnership with global voluntourism organisation, Planeterra.

UK-based STA Travel is committing US $1 million over five years to a responsible tourism program that will develop mutually beneficial volunteer travel and community projects.

Founded in 2003 by Gap Adventures, Planeterra is dedicated to sustainable community development through travel and has a portfolio of 25 projects spanning Asia, Africa and the Americas. They work with local partners to develop volunteer programs so that people can visit a project, live on-site or with a local family, and contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

Further information: http://www.statravel.com/cps/rde/xchg/us_division_web_live/hs.xsl/planeterra.htm


Sustainable Trips

International conservation organisation Rainforest Alliance has launched a new online search tool that provides sustainable vacation options in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The online database provides travellers, tour operators and travel agents with a credible, comprehensive listing of hotels, tour operators and other hospitality options.

The sustainability claim of each business is verified before it is listed on the site.

The website also features an in-depth profile for each business, amenities and rates, description of the area and activities, videos and actions being undertaken to conserve natural resources and improve livelihoods in local communities.


Further information: http://www.sustainabletrip.org/

Green Dollar Program

Greyhound Australia has launched a new ‘go-greener’ campaign aimed at encouraging its 1.3 million passengers to reduce the carbon footprint of their bus travels. In the past two years Greyhound passengers had contributed nearly $290,000 to the Green Dollar scheme.

These funds have been invested into international eco initiatives through the company’s partnership with global carbon solutions company Cleaner Climate. One such project is the development of a hydro power plant that supplies clean, green power to the rural Indian village of Kullu.

Further information: http://www.greyhound.com.au/AboutGreyhound/travel-green.aspx



Private Camping Company

Based in England's Lake District, the Private Camping Company works with local farmers and landowners willing to rent small, secluded areas of land for short-term camping vacations.

UK planning regulations allow such landowners 28 days of "permitted development" per year in which they can use their land for nearly any temporary purpose without needing to apply for planning permission.

The company provides and sets up temporary campsite facilities (water, toilets, hot showers, waste disposal) and then removes them afterwards, leaving the land just as they found it.

Further information: http://www.privatecamping.co.uk/


GPS Guided Tours

GPS Eco Tourism P/L has released its new eco-experience, the first GPS Guided Tour on The Carlo Sandblow.

At each of 16 points of interest on the walk quality audio/visual interpretive content is activated by location (GPS).

An introductory offer through iPhone App ($US2.65) shares with a global audience what the Cooloola region has to offer as well as the eco-credentials of this innovation.

Other tours (Noosa National Park and Noosa’s Hastings St) and a walk/drive cultural and heritage tour of Gubbi Gubbi traditional lands (in development) will provide unique opportunities to experience authentic history.

For further information www.gpsecotourism.com or www.carlosandblow.com

Contact Bruce Cresswell  +61 418677076 or info@gpsecotourism.com


Green Business Tourism Program

Delegates attending meetings in Malaysia can now participate in the country’s first-ever environmental program for business tourism.

The Malaysia Business Tourism Green Program is an initiative spearheaded by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau and is designed to support the Malaysian government’s commitment to offset carbon emissions by 40 percent by year 2020.

Delegates are given the opportunity to contribute as part of event registration to tree planting activity conducted by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia.

Further information: http://www.tourism.gov.my/corporate/mice.asp


Eco Lodges of Australia

A number of Australia’s leading independent ecotourism accommodation providers have joined together to create Eco Lodges of Australia, a new marketing initiative launched at the recent Global ECO Asia Pacific Conference.

The consortium is made up of various styles of accommodation that have achieved Advanced Ecotourism certification who can offer travellers responsible, ethical and sustainable holiday experiences in natural locations throughout Australia.

Further information: http://www.greentravelleaders.com.au/d854ab31-97a7-409a-a59f-0f9e4070dcec.aspx

Lowxurious Hotels

Spanish Lookotels is looking to build an energy-efficient budget hotel with 100 separate prefabricated modular rooms that will be self-sufficient structurally, architecturally and functionally.

Self-service check-in and out will be enabled by automatic dispensers and control-card access, while a built-in safety system and 24-hour telephone customer service will be available.

Lookhotel hopes to build 10 such hotels in Spain before expanding around the world with early interest from several budget airlines.

Further information: http://www.lookotels.com/


Regional Wine and Food Program

A new wine and food initiative launched by the RACV and VisitVineyards.com is giving more than two million RACV members and policy holders, as well as to five million members of interstate motoring organisations (NRMA and RAA) and more than 115 million members of AAA internationally access to discounts at a number of Victorian wineries, restaurants, gourmet food producers and craft breweries.

VisitVineyards.com is Australia’s largest online culinary travel guide and brings together more than 30,000 wine, food and travel providers across Australia. It offers itineraries, information, recommendations and reviews of regional culinary travel experiences.

Further information: http://racv.visitvineyards.com/


Stereo(un)typical Travel

Mercedes-Benz has joined with Lonely Planet to launch ‘Stereo(un)typical Australian Escapes’ an online campaign aimed at promoting domestic travel.

The two companies teamed up to provide free itineraries of their top ten Australian road trips to motivate people to start thinking about their next vacation.

Lonely Planet and Mercedes-Benz are offering a ‘sharing and voting’ competition where the top ranked Australian escape will win $5,000 and three runners-up will receive their choice of a Mercedes- Benz travel, beach or picnic merchandise pack. The voting competition closes by the end of January 2011.

Further information: http://www2.mercedes-benz.com.au/content/australia/mpc/mpc _australia__
website/en/home_mpc/passengercars/home/passenger_cars_world/news /Nov2010/escapes.html

Custom Travel Guides

Norwegian Stay.com is a social platform where users can create and share their own, custom guides. Users begin by entering their destination city, prompting the site to draw from more than 150,000 attractions, restaurants and hotels in more than 50 cities to suggest a variety of venues and activities.

Content comes from a range of online sources allowing users to develop a free personal and compact guide that includes maps and details about the selected attractions including prices, operating hours, contacts, descriptions and pictures. Guides can be saved on the site and accessed online from any device with an Internet connection.

Further information: http://www.stay.com


West Gippsland Hinterland Drive

Destination Gippsland and the Department of Sustainability and Environment have launched a new touring route called the West Gippsland Hinterland Drive.

This unique scenic drive winds its way through the magnificent and diverse landscapes of West Gippsland. The full route which takes approximately five hours driving time and highlights nature-based activities such as horse riding, camping, fishing and bushwalking.

A range of interpretive signs has been placed around the new drive and a podcast is available to tell visitors about experiences en route. A new brochure, website and free iPhone and iPad apps have also been developed.

Further information: http://www.destinationgippsland.com.au/images/stories/reports/west


The Responsible Travel Report
The Responsible Travel Report is an online magazine that provides travel and tourism professionals, travellers and media with comprehensive and up-to-date news and information on all aspects of sustainable tourism.

It features breaking regional and trade news as well as feature articles, profiles, interviews and guest commentary on emerging trends and best practices within the travel industry. It also includes practical tips for travellers on how to maximize their positive impacts while on vacation, select responsible travel providers, and learn about exciting green travel opportunities across the globe.

Further information: http://www.responsibletravelreport.com/

The Search for the Authentic Ecolodge

Hitesh Mehta, a Kenyan-born architect and landscape architect, has travelled the world seeking to answer the questions: How do you know if a tourism business is truly sustainable? How can you be certain that an ecolodge is really "eco"? What kinds of criteria should you be looking at?

The result of his search can be found in ‘Authentic Ecolodges’, which presents 36 lodges which Mehta personally visited and evaluated and are among the best according to his criteria.

Order your copy
now or for further information please email us.
Trailer available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRVs7q5hK3c

Carbon Guide

A new guide will help Victorian businesses cut costs and increase their competitive advantage. Cashing in on Carbon: A Climate Change guide provides practical tips for businesses large or small on ways to reduce their impact on the environment while achieving significant savings and boosting profitability.

The guide outlines key actions businesses can take to reduce emissions from building a low carbon workplace culture to purchasing green power and offsetting emissions.

Further information: http://www.theclimategroup.org/publications/2010/10/19/cashing-in-on-carbon/


Royalties for Regions

The Western Australian Government’s $20 million Royalties for Regions program will deliver a boost to regional tourism and parks through the announcement of a range of projects throughout over the next four years.

The projects will create local jobs in construction and tourism through the development of new and improved tourism infrastructure such as roads, visitor facilities, campsites and eco-friendly accommodation.

Further information: http://info.tourism.wa.gov.au/cgi-bin14/DM/y/h72z0KG14g0DE50Cewn0Et


Tourism Grants

The Australian Government will invest a further $46 million over four years in Australia's tourism future to extend the TQUAL Tourism Grants program and implementation of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy.

The revised TQUAL Grant program will include matching funding on a competitive, merit-based process for both small scale and large tourism projects right across Australia with a particular focus on indigenous economic and cultural heritage.

Grant applications open in the first quarter of 2011.

Further information: http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/Pages/Tourism.aspx


Business Travellers Survey

According to a survey from Deloitte, business travellers are anticipating an increase in corporate travel for 2011.

The survey found that the overall hotel experience is important to a majority of business travellers and general-purpose travel websites did not appear to be regularly used by business travellers for booking accommodations.

The survey was conducted online by an independent research company in September and polled a nationally representative sample of 1,001 business travellers.

Further information:


Queensland Indigenous Tourism Product Manual

The 2010-11 edition of the Queensland Indigenous Tourism Product Manual is a useful travel trade tool that lists more than 20 export and market ready tourism products which are either Indigenous owned and/or operated, operated in conjunction with Indigenous businesses or feature an authentic Indigenous experience as part of a larger offering.

The manual has been developed cooperatively with Tourism Australia.

Further information: http://www.tq.com.au/resource-centre/special-interests/



Responsible Tourism Awards

The Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 by responsibletravel.com and are run in partnership with Metro Newspaper, Geographical Magazine and World Travel Market.

The awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

The public nominates organisations and experiences across 13 categories, with the winners announced at the World Travel Market in London as part of World Responsible Tourism Day.

Further information: http://www.responsibletourismawards.com/about.html

World Travel Awards

The 2010 World Travel Awards were held at Grosvenor House hotel in London on Sunday 7 November. Over 5,000 companies in 1,000 categories spanning 162 countries were nominated by industry peers including destinations, tourist boards, airlines, cruise companies, destinations, resorts, luxury hotels, travel technology providers and adventure tour operators.

Established 17 years ago, the award program aims to encourage best practice within the global travel and tourism industry including product innovation, creativity, staff training and customer service. The winners are selected by thousands of industry professionals and consumers worldwide voting online.

Further information: http://www.worldtravelawards.com/


Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will be hosted by Hilton Head Island, USA from 19-21 September 2011.

The conference brings together over 500 business leaders, industry professionals and community stakeholders to discuss practical ideas and solutions that inspire positive changes.

It will feature dynamic sessions, public forums and social functions that offer insights into the latest on sustainable business strategies, networking and knowledge-sharing experiences.

Further information: http://www.ecotourismconference.org/

Cambodia Geared to Host an Unforgettable Event

This year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) TRAVEX (Travel Exchange) is set to be an unforgettable event with over 500 exhibition booths already sold, and all ten member-nations being well represented. 

A total of 1,600 delegates are expected at this annual leisure travel trade event which showcases the largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services.

ATF will feature topics such as ecotourism and sustainable tourism in the ASEAN region as well as managing tourism in destinations which are home to heritage sites. 

Further information: http://www.atfcambodia.com/