Season's Greetings!

The team at Tony Charters and Associates would like to wish all of our industry colleagues a safe, enjoyable and relaxing holiday period!

Please note that our office will close on Monday 19 December and re-open on Monday 16 January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Quality Hunters

In their latest initiative to develop the customer experience and make air travel as convenient and pleasurable as possible Finnair and Helsinki Airport have invited people to share their innovative ideas and encourage out-of-the-box thinking and active discussion. Ideas submitted to date include meat-free Mondays, in-flight karaoke, virtual chess games and airport speed dating. The list will be narrowed down, with the winning idea to be chosen by public vote.

Further information:


Global Soap Project

Hilton Worldwide has announced a partnership with the Global Soap Project, a non-profit organisation that recovers and recycles soap from hotels. The Global Soap Project sorts, reprocesses and remolds used soap into new bars and distributes them to vulnerable populations in developing countries who are at risk of sanitation and hygiene-related disease. In addition, Hilton Worldwide is investing $1.3 million over the next three years and providing its operational expertise to help expand the Global Soap Project's processing capabilities. Since its inception in 2009, the Global Soap Project has distributed more than 25 tons of soap to communities in twenty countries on four continents.

Further information:

Fair Trade Voluntourism

The Fair Trade Volunteering movement aims to set the standard for short term overseas volunteering. With the increase in volunteering as a saleable product and the number of organisations providing placement opportunities for the prospective volunteer including commercial bodies, charities, churches or schools. The growth of Fair Trade Volunteering is also highlighting the genuine benefit well managed volunteering can give to overseas projects, as well as set benchmarks for individuals or groups to ensure their contribution to a volunteer placement overseas is positive

Further information: .


Great Golf Courses of Australia

A new partnership between the golf and tourism industries aims to position Australia as one of the world's leading golf tourism destinations. Great Golf Courses of Australia is collaboration between the country's premier golf courses, Tourism Australia, State Tourism Offices and the PGA of Australia. The partnership will provide a comprehensive and centralised resource from which golfers and media from around the world can access information on Australia's leading golf courses and iconic golf experiences.

Further information:

Country Brand Index

Canada has come out on top in the overall rankings of the latest Country Brand Index. The Country Brand Index is a comprehensive global study of how travellers perceive 110 countries around the world. The survey, which assesses 26 image attributes and six measures of brand strength including associations and attributes – the qualities that people think of when they hear a place name, or look at a photograph or plan a trip. Japan was the No 1 country brand for tourism, followed by Italy and Spain with Australia coming in at No 8.

Further information:


Find a Seatmate through Facebook

Worry no more about who may be sitting next to you in seat 23A. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is planning a service where passengers can use Facebook and LinkedIn as an aid when booking a flight.

Launch of the service is expected in early 2012. There's no word on whether participants will be charged a fee.

In February, Malaysia Airlines also  launched MHbuddy, in which users can check in via Facebook and select their seats. During seat selection, they are able to view the seats of friends on the same flight.

Further information:
Innovative Partnerships

The International Air Transport Association is urging airports and airlines to work together and build a better aviation future. Key areas where airports and airlines can enhance cooperation to innovate and deliver value include safety, security, improving the customer experience, infrastructure investments, environment and charges. The industry will also need to improve dialogue with government stakeholders on a Checkpoint of the Future system that will allow passengers to pass through security without taking off their clothes or unpacking their bags.

Further information:

High Speed Rail Project
Amadeus a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry has released the results of a pan-European rail passenger survey. The online survey asked over 7,000 rail passengers across six European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom about their expectations and preferences as long-distance international high-speed rail travel becomes more popular.

Further information:


The New7Wonders of Nature
The provisional winners of the New7Wonders of Nature have been announced in Zurich, Switzerland and include the Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River and Table Mountain. The New7Wonders of Nature campaign has over been running over the past four years with over 440 locations from over 220 countries nominated for voting.

The voting ended on 11 November 2011 with results to be validated and independently verified, before confirmed winners are announced in early 2012.

Further information:

New Business Events Study

A new study into the business event sector by Meetings & Events Australia in conjunction with the University of South Australia is believed to be a world first. The study will use insight and knowledge from companies to develop a benchmark of industry best practice for business events in Australia. A survey will be sent to meeting and event management companies requesting information that relates to the nature of their business and its operation, mix of services provided, demographics of the business, ways they are adapting to trends within the industry and types of business practices that lead to success.

Further information:

Victoria closing in on NSW as most popular Christmas holiday destination

A quarter of Australians planning a Christmas holiday are intending to visit Victoria (25% up from 24% last year) according to the Roy Morgan Research Holiday Tracking survey. This now places Victoria only 1% behind New South Wales who, 12 months ago, led Victoria by 5% points. Melbourne maintains its position over Sydney, with 9% intending to visit Melbourne and 6% Sydney.

Intention to visit Queensland during the 2011 Christmas holiday has declined to 16%, down from 19% in 2010. Intention to visit other states and territories has declined to 15%, down from 16% in 2010.
Intention to go overseas during the Christmas holiday period has increased to 14%, from 13% in 2010.

View the Christmas Holiday Trend and Intention Report.

Click here to sign up to the free Roy Morgan Market Research Update newsletter

Tourism Mining

Discover Holiday Parks has purchased and rebranded a new property in Emerald, Central Queensland adding to the company's portfolio of 30 holiday parks. The $15 million purchase is part of a longer-term growth strategy to offer companies in the mining industry require reliable, full-service worker accommodation. Located 270 kilometres west of the Rockhampton the194 room property also features a restaurant, car park, gymnasium and laundry will be renamed to Discovery Park- Emerald.

Further information:

Indigenous Tourism Partnership

Ayers Rock Resort has announced a new partnership with Accor the world’s largest hotel operator to reinvent and reintroduce the iconic resort to new markets as well as providing employment and development opportunities for indigenous Australians. Future plans include a major upgrade to the conference centre, refurbishment of Sails in the Desert Hotel, building of a children’s play and educational centre with an indigenous theme, new wellness centre with Indigenous spa treatments and the extension of ‘under the stars’ dining experiences. The Federal Government is contributing $4.9 million to assist Accor, the Indigenous Land Corporation and Voyages.

Further information:

Travelling Youngeons

The Australian and Canadian Governments have signed a bilateral agreement to allow 18-30 year old Australian passport holders work in the North American country for up to two years without a job offer. Targeted towards travellers planning a gap year or youngeons looking for an extended holiday, the International Experience Canada allows Australians to work anywhere in Canada, learn a new culture and make new friendships.

Further information:

Natural Disaster Assistance

Assistance to small businesses directly or indirectly affected by natural disasters is available free-of-charge via email, web meetings and group training webinars. The range of topics aim to improve small business responsiveness to the effects of natural disasters. The service is provided by a not for profit community based organisation assisting in the growth and development of small business and funded by the Australian Government.

Further information:

Gold Coast Games

The Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia has won the bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The games are expected to generate up to $2 billion in economic benefit with up to 30,000 full time-equivalent jobs created between 2015 and 2020. Over $500 million will now be invested on sport and transport infrastructure on the Gold Coast as a direct result of the successful bid.

Further information:


Manado, Indonesia to host 2012 ASEAN Tourism Forum

The stunning Indonesian tourism destination, Manado, is set to welcome hundreds of industry delegates and media representative to the ASEAN Tourism Forum – ATF 2012 in January 2012.

ATF brings together tourism ministers from all 11 ASEAN countries and senior government officials, and is an important discussion platform for policy makers, tourism operators and wider tourism industry organisations in the region.

The event is expected to be attended by 400 buyers, 900 sellers and 100 members of the international media. Buyers will come from all over the world, including Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US, while sellers will be from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Further information:


Amphibious Camping

Sealander, a German company is taking glamorous camping to the next level, with an amphibious camping trailer which functions as a mobile home that can float on water. The result of two years of development, the amphibious camping trailer comes equipped with all the facilities you would expect to find on a normal caravan. The integrated waterproof chassis means it can be maneuvered in and out of water without a boat slip or trailer system. It will be available from the beginning of 2012 in various materials and colours.

Further information:

Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council has announced the creation of a baseline sustainable tourism criteria and indicators for use by destinations of all types and sizes. The criteria will be tested with applicants from government, national parks, tourism bureaus and other destination management organizations to ensure a range of applications. It will be widely available for adoption in early 2012.

Further information:

Condé Nast Traveler's World Savers Award

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has been honoured at the Condé Nast Traveler's fifth annual World Savers Awards for its pioneering work and commitment to wildlife conservation. With approximately 4,000 acres of land dedicated as a wildlife reserve, the Wolgan conservancy project re-establishes and secures a future for many of the region's indigenous and endangered species under pressure from introduced flora and feral predators. The resort also incorporates many ecologically sustainable design principles and resource-saving technologies, ranging from rainwater collection, full recycling of all domestic water, heat exchange technology to reduce electricity consumption and the use of solar panels for all hot water systems.

Further information:

Winners of 25th Brolga's Tourism Awards Announced

The winners of the tourism industry's highest accolade were announced recently at a glittering ceremony of the 25th annual Brolga Tourism Awards in Alice Springs.

Five businesses entering the Brolgas for the first time won their category: Alice Springs Airport (Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism); Alice Springs YHA (Backpacker Accommodation); Fish Darwin Fishing Tours (Adventure Tourism); Wildman Wilderness Lodge (New Tourism Development) and Rapid Ascent (Festival and Events) for the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro.

For a full list of winners please visit:


Visa Guide

A guide to using the 457 Visa program for the hospitality and tourism industries has been launched by the Australian Federal Government. The guide will be backed up by special information sessions in all states and territories for interested employers in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The 457 Visa program provides employers with an avenue to sponsor experienced tourism professionals from overseas to fill critical skills gaps and train young Australians looking for a career in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Further information:

Social Media Strategies for Travel

Leading social media gurus from the world's leading travel brands will be sharing insightful case studies at EyeforTravel's Social Media Strategies for Travel conference which will take place in San Francisco from 5 to 6 March 2012.

Further information:

Australian Youth Tourism Exchange

The second annual Australian Youth Tourism Exchange will be held at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast from 30 April to 2 May 2012. The event is hosted by Australian Tourism Export Council in partnership with Qantas and supported by Tourism Australia and Accor. Aimed at the backpacker and youth segment, the event will bring together international distributors and operators to participate in workshops, networking events and famils.

Further information: