Sad News from VTIC

Readers of Tourforce will share with me the great sadness in the news of the passing of Todd Blake, the CEO of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council and General Manager, VECCI Tourism and Events. Todd was  co-convenor with me of the upcoming Tourism and Events Excellence National Conference. Todd passed away this week, while on holidays with his family in Fiji.

I first met Todd early this year when we were working up the concept of the TEE conference. I was immediately struck by his high energy, enthusiasm and intellect. Todd was great to work with and had tremendous flair, confidence and  ability. His passing is a great loss to the industry and he will be greatly missed by all who worked with him.

Todd is survived by his wife Kirsty and their two children. Our deepest sympathies go to Kirsty and Todd’s family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.  

- Tony Charters


Global Sustainable Tourism Council Membership

Tony Charters and Associates is now a proud member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. We support the GSTC mission of mainstreaming sustainable tourism by increasing the reach of sustainable tourism practices to traditional large-scale operations and endorse the principles of the GSTC Criteria.

Further information on GSTC: http://new.gstcouncil.org/


Space Hotel

Russian firm Orbital Technologies plans to build the world's first space hotel and place it into orbit 350 kilometres above the earth as a commercial alternative to the International Space Station.

With room for just seven guests (sleeping upright) the hotel will have no ensuites, showers, smoking or drinking, and only freeze-dried food, TV and internet for entertainment.

It will cost £100,000 for a short break and £500,000 for flights bringing the total cost for a three-day trip to £600,000.

The design and development of the space hotel is underway and expected to launch in 2016.

Further information: http://www.space.com/4207-space-hotel-slated-open-2012.html

Makepeace Island

Sir Richard Branson’s exclusive Makepeace Island at Noosa on Australia's Sunshine Coast has opened its doors for private lease.

Designed for privacy the secluded 25 acre island property offers luxurious accommodation for up to 22 guests on a heart shaped island in the expansive Noosa River.

The island comes complete with its own riverboat to transfer guests, full sized tennis court and pavilion, spa facilities, theatre, lagoon pool, office facilities and indoor bar designed for entertaining on a grand scale.

Further information: http://www.makepeaceisland.com/Home.aspx


Save Mt Everest Campaign

The Save Mt Everest Campaign aims to collect all the garbage left by summiteers and mountaineers who gather to conquer the world’s highest mountain.

Every year 35,000 people visit the mountain accompanied by 80,000 porters, to attempt to reach the top.

This year, 8 tonnes of pipes, old ropes, tents, plastic, empty oxygen bottles, food, medicine and bodies of those who never made it was brought back to the base camp at Namche by 29 Sherpas.

Further information: http://www.savingmounteverest.org/en/home.html

Eco Volunteers

Six Senses resorts are running Sustainable-Local-Organic-Wholesome Learning-Inspiring-Fun-Experiences (SLOW LIFE) season packages with free nights in return for volunteering with local community projects. Each resort has specific projects to tackle with guests expected to commit at least four hours a day (on volunteer days) to growing organic herbs in the tropics, rehabilitating orphaned gibbons, removing litter from a coral reef or teaching local children the value of recycling waste.

Further information: http://www.sixsenses.com/home.php


Program Highlights Announced

Ecotourism Australia is staging the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Sydney 7-10 November. The conference will run over four days with the Indigenous Tourism Forum and the inaugural ASEAN and OCENIA Tourism Forum being held at the Australian National Maritime Museum. The following three days the conference will continue at Taronga Zoo featuring leading national and international speakers, interactive discussion sessions and topic specific snapshots.

Ecotourism Australia is celebrating 20 years with an outstanding conference program and the conference will be a major part of the celebrations. The Ecotourism Snapshot (on day four of the conference) will look back at 20 years of ecotourism in Australia and will continue to look ahead to chart the next 20 years of ecotourism.

Being held around Sydney Harbour, Global Eco will offer you the opportunity to experience all dimensions of Sydney’s globally envied World Heritage Area whilst getting amongst national and international best practice operators in the areas of ecotourism, Indigenous tourism, sustainable tourism, tourism in protected and heritage areas, cultural and heritage tourism.

At this time when business is tough it is important to retain focus on new product development and marketing tools, emerging trends and improved business approaches to stay at the forefront and contribute to your business’ sustainability.  

View the conference brochure here and register online now.

Tourism and Events Excellence Conference – less than two weeks to go!

In less than two weeks Australia’s tourism and events industry leaders will gather in Melbourne for the Tourism and Events Excellence Conference (5-7 September 2011) and you are invited to attend!

The conference will bring together an outstanding program of high-profile keynote speakers and industry experts to tackle the challenges and opportunities currently facing Australian tourism and events.

Included in the line-up is Stephan Bognar, CEO of Angelina Jolie's Maddox Jolie-Pitt (MJP) organisation, for the conservation of Cambodia's endangered Cardamom Mountain's northern territory.

Stephan designs, implements and manages MJP's global community and conservation portfolios and is a special keynote at this year's Tourism & Events Excellence National Conference 2011.

With over 70 speakers in the program across three days, the conference will cover and extremely diverse range of topics including, policy, strategy, marketing, destination management, skills development and more!

There is only a limited time left to register so don’t miss out! Register at www.teeconference.com


Program Released for Regional Australia

The Sustainable Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) 2011 Registration Brochure and Program has just been released. 

The program features new spotlight sessions as a new initiative of 2011 - four spotlight sessions have been added to each day. 

Spotlights include:

  • Decentralisation in Action
  • Lobbying for Regional, Rural and Remote Australia - getting organised
  • Economic Growth after Extreme Weather Events
  • Building Regional SME's - from the spare bedroom to the boardroom
  • Delivering Services in Regions – overcoming issues of scale and distance
  • A Matter of Difference - opportunities and challenges for large, small and remote regional economic development organisations
  • Access to Finance in Regional Areas - models for developing an investor network
  • Future Proofing Regions

Visit www.segra.com.au for the latest program details, speaker information and sessions.


Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will be held in Hilton Head, USA from 19 to 21 September 2011. The conference will bring together a wide spectrum of industry pioneers and influencers to share ideas, opportunities and solutions that move the global tourism industry forward.

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

Health, Heritage & Nature – The Importance of Reconnecting with our Parks

Join FACET, industry colleagues and an impressive range of international, national and local keynote speakers in the beautiful setting of Yanchep National Park for FACET’s 2011 Conference – Rediscover Parks! Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 September 2011.

The Conference Program will raise critical issues and seek answers to how we reconnect people with our Parks and build cohesive communities, improving health and education and providing tourism and recreation opportunities.

Further information: http://www.facet.asn.au/conference.aspx


Pet Policy

After detailed research and analysis, BIG4 has decided to allow its Member Parks the option of accepting dogs due to the increasing trend of pet companions holidaying with couples and families. Prior to welcoming dogs, Parks will be required to go through a qualification process to ensure dog-specific infrastructure is in place and meet the required standards.

BIG4 Holiday Parks is a Franchise Group with over 170,000 members and more than 180 holiday parks across Australia which provide a range of high-quality accommodation options from powered ensuite sites for caravan and motorhomes to luxury cabins.

Further information: http://www.big4.com.au/about-big4/dogs-at-big4.aspx

Unexpected Tourism Innovation

Lithuania, having recorded the highest homicide rate in the EU1 and the highest suicide rate in the world2, unsurprisingly does not appear in the top 10 most visited countries by international tourist arrivals3. In fact the number of international arrivals has not shown any overall increase in the last 10 years, while the number of departing residents recorded a bumper year in 2010 exceeding international arrivals4.

In an innovative and unexpected move, this year the country launched a national perfume in an effort to communicate the character of the ex-Soviet Baltic state in a fragrant way. The perfume is a blend of sandalwood, cedar, musk and wood fires – that can be associated with pagan rituals – which are identified with Lithuania.

Lithuanian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan have received samples. "Feeling Lithuania" scented candles are also on sale.

Whether the world will pick up on the scent is to be seen.

Further information: http://www.lietuvoskvapas.lt/en/the-scent/


Cultural Directory

The 2011-12 edition of the Victorian cultural experiences directory has been launched, showcasing 86 of the state’s vibrant arts and cultural attractions ranging from blockbuster exhibitions to local treasures such as Melbourne’s laneways. Produced by Cultural Tourism Victoria the guide showcases an extensive range of theatre, concerts and other performing arts, museums and art galleries, festivals and historical, heritage buildings, sites and monuments. The directory is available through the Victorian Tourism Information Service, tourism operators and online.

Further information: http://www.culturaltourismvictoria.com.au/


Bungle Bungles Safari Camp

Tour operator Kimberley Wild Expeditions had been offered the opportunity to develop a commercial safari camp for up to 20 visitors at the Kurrajong site in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park. The project is the first to be created under the State Government's Naturebank program, which aims to develop low impact, sustainable, nature-based tourism operations in regional areas through a partnership between the Department of Environment and Conservation and Tourism Western Australia.

Further information: http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Results.aspx?ItemID=141580


Maldives Marine Park

The first comprehensive Marine National Park (MNP) in the Republic of Maldives is to be established in the Southern part of South Miladhunmadulu Atoll, commonly known as Edhdhuffaru with its islands, lagoon and surrounding waters forming a single unified coral reef based ecosystem.

This ecosystem provides terrestrial habitat in the form of its several islands in the vast lagoon and the marine life in the surrounding waters.

This area is natural ecosystem reflecting the biodiversity of the Northern atolls of the Maldives.

It is largely undamaged and unpolluted. The purpose of establishing the MNP is to protect, conserve and preserve this natural setting and its biodiversity with minimum intrusion for future generations. The MNP will be managed in an inclusive participatory manner with close links, support and collaboration with the atoll community.

Further information: mnpmaldives@live.com


New Tourism Plan

The Northern Territory Government is undertaking the development of a ‘new tourism strategic plan’ to improve the economic growth of tourism in the Northern Territory.

As part of the Northern Territory Government’s Territory 2030 strategy the new tourism plan is set to articulate the objectives, strategies and achievements for the sustainable economic growth and prosperity of the tourism industry in the region.

Further information: http://newsroom.nt.gov.au/index.cfm?fuseaction


Tourism Development Laws

The Western Australian government has adjusted its tourism building requirements, to allow more flexibility and encourage future investment in the development of regional tourism accommodation. The percentages previously determining the residential components within tourism sites have been replaced with a list of factors to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The new legislation has been subject to extensive consultation with Tourism Western Australia, the Tourism Council, the Western Australian Local Government Association and local governments.

Further information: http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx?ItemId=142512&

Tourism Island Makeover

The South Australian Government has commenced a study into Kangaroo Island’s airport, major roads and ferry terminals as part of plans to double tourism over the next ten years.

In total the region will receive up to $18 million to develop and expand its facilities, with $8 million set aside for road improvements and $5 million to build a new walking trail.

Further information: http://www.premier.sa.gov.au/index.php?option=com_content&view


Regional Airports Funding

The Western Australian State Government has provided $8.4 million for improvements at 29 airports through the 2011-12 round of the Regional Airports Development Scheme. The funding will offer infrastructure upgrades and maintenance programs to provide improved access for communities, safer emergency evacuations and greater tourism opportunities.

Further information: http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/aviation/565.asp


Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia

In May this year Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia acquired the six hotels, campground and associated infrastructure, Connellan Airport and employee village at the Yulara tourism complex at Uluru. The new owners aim to provide visitors to Uluru (Ayers Rock) with a genuine and authentic Indigenous experience, as well as training and employment for Indigenous staff.

Further information: http://www.voyages.com.au/resorts/

National Indigenous Tourism Taskforce

A new ten member National Indigenous Tourism Taskforce (formerly the Indigenous Tourism Advisory Panel) has been announced to develop indigenous tourism business and increase the number of opportunities available for indigenous employment in the industry. The taskforce will work closely with other industry groups including Tourism Australia’s Indigenous Tourism Government Forum and the Indigenous Tourism Working Group to create collaborative campaigns and opportunities.

Further information: http://www.atec.net.au/837207.html



Hotels & Resorts Customer Satisfaction Report

New research confirms the Mantra accommodation brand is the best hotel group when it comes to delivering customer satisfaction.

Results from the annual Roy Morgan Hotels and Resorts Customer Satisfaction Report show both Mantra Hotels, Resorts and Apartments and Crowne Plaza are in the lead for customer satisfaction ahead of 25 leading hotel brands including Westin, Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott and Sofitel.

The results come from a survey pool of more than 7,000 guests who stayed at a hotel or resort between April 2010 and March 2011.

Further information: http://www.roymorganonlinestore.com/Browse/Australia/Tourism/Hotels-and-

Social Media Survey
The IMEX Social Media Survey of over 830 international hosted buyers has shown that the adoption of social media platforms by the business events industry has increased since 2010 including a growth in Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent changes across the sector also suggest that mobile payment systems, environmental monitoring, QR codes and even intelligent sensors embedded into mobiles are the next areas to watch within the industry. Additionally, the survey confirmed the growing popularity of the iPhone, compared with iPads and Blackberries. Further information: http://www.imex-frankfurt.com/press.php?action=showstory&newsid=263


Destination NSW

The NSW Government has created Destination NSW as a new statutory tourism authority to help rebuild the State’s economy and double tourism expenditure in NSW by 2020. The new body will be backed by expenditure of $400 million over the next four years to market and promote NSW, as well as address the lack of tourism infrastructure and the growth in indigenous tourism, youth and aged travel, health tourism, food and wine, and major events. It will encompass the current functions of Tourism NSW, Events NSW, the Greater Sydney Partnerships, the Regional Tourism Organisations and the Homebush Motor Racing Authority.

Further information: http://corporate.tourism.nsw.gov.au/



Tourism Radio

An audio travel guide aimed at the international market visiting New Zealand has reported more than a quarter of a million tourists from Western Europe, the UK, Canada, US and Australia have used the innovative product.

Tourism Radio uses an integrated GPS system broadcasting content in real time to point out known landmarks to visitors in New Zealand.Due to its success in New Zealand the company is also planning to expand its travel guide to Australia next year, followed by Hawaii and US West Coast.

Further information: http://www.tourismradio.info/

Online Tourism Alliance

AAA Tourism (AAAT) and Tourism Exchange Australia (TXA) have announced a strategic partnership to increase the availability of live real-time Australian tourism product across their combined distribution networks. The alliance has the potential to benefit consumers, as well as Australian suppliers and distributors. AAAT is the national tourism body of the Australian Automobile Associations and TXA is partnership between the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and V3.

Further information: http://www.atdw.com.au/tourism_exchange_australia.asp


Personalised Travel Program

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has launched a program of initiatives designed to serve the unique preferences of the expected 100 million outbound Chinese travellers by 2015.

The Starwood Personalised Travel program offers a variety of services for Chinese guests including an in-hotel Chinese specialist, familiar foods, tea kettles and on-site translation services.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is one of the leading hotel companies in the world with 1,051 properties in 100 countries with 145,000 employees.

Further information: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/promotions/promo_


Tourism Business Services

The Australian Government is providing practical support services for sole operators and small businesses in the tourism industry including information and referral services, low cost business advisory services and assistance on how to use the National Broadband Network and other online opportunities.

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