One-Stop Travel Shop

Travellers can now access foreign currency exchange, passports, merchandise, travel insurance, flights and bookings at Australia Post. As part of a transformational network strategy hundreds of Australia Post store will become travel super stores. Australia Post has also announced a multimillion dollar partnership with American Express to offer currency exchange outlets in 200 of its post offices. This will complement existing over-the-counter foreign currency services where customers can order online for collection at more than 3,200 stores across the country.

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Indonesian Tourism Links with Creative Economy

In a country where tourism is number four export earner after oil and minerals a new push is being created around destination development and linkages with the creative economy.

Speaking at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado in January, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Ms Mari Elka Pangestu said that under the strategy some 50 new nationally significant destinations will be created by 2025.

Linkages with the creative economy in fields such as fashion, film, dance, music, fine art, arts and crafts, IT and R&D will be maximised – and reflected through the inclusion of the creative economy in the Ministerial portfolio.

Ms Pangestu said special interest tourism, marine based tourism and culinary tourism would feature in the new directions. An active involvement in geotourism is also proposed within Indonesia's rich and diversified geological landscapes.

Bali, a destination which is going through enormous growth will see new destinations develop in the north of the island – serviced with a new airport and road systems.

Indonesia's top three markets are Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Overall, international visitation was up 8.5% to Indonesia on 2011.

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Laos named for 2013 ASEAN Tourism Forum

Laos will have the opportunity to showcase new convention, hotel and transport infrastructure when it hosts the ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2013 in Vientiane.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of South East Asian Nations as one tourist destination. The annual event involves all tourism industry sectors of the 10 member nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Each year, the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries. ATF 2013 marks the 32nd anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981.

It is anticipated that over 1,600 delegates will attend; including some 150 ASEAN tourism ministers and officials, 800 ASEAN exhibitors, 400 international buyers, 150 international and local media as well as 100 tourism trade visitors.
Laos will receive some 2.8m international visitors in 2012, with about 65% coming from neighbouring ASEAN countries. Capacity at the Vientiane Airport is being doubled to 1000 per day.

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Religious Tourism

The tourism board of Switzerland has launched a new project to promote the numerous religious sites within the country including local religious buildings, churches, monasteries and hermitages as attractive tourist landmarks. Travellers from Europe and the US are the main focus with a new website providing visitors with an overview of religions represented in the country and list of religious sites, as well as information about their history, importance and opening times.

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Tropical Europe?

The Germans have produced, what they claim is, the world's largest indoor rainforest, 100 km north of Dresden. The Tropical Islands recreates an entire ecosystem inside a massive, 2,000-square-metre dome featuring an impressive collection of animal and 600 different species of plants, including many kinds of palms, fern and mangroves.

Tourists can enjoy the tropical heat, relax on an artificial beach, swim in the artificial ocean, play a game of mini-golf, dine in a local restaurant or enjoy a shopping spree.

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Accor Acquires Mirvac

Hotel operator Accor has further reinforced its position as a leading hotel operator by acquiring hotel management company Mirvac. The Accor Group's network in Australia and New Zealand will now total 241 hotels and 32,500 rooms. The majority of the Mirvac Hotels and Resorts portfolio will be integrated into Accor's upscale and mid-scale brands including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel and Mercure.

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Scoot Airlines

A new low-cost carrier has entered the Australian air-travel market. Scoot Airlines, the low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines will commence services between Singapore and Sydney in mid-2012.

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Delegate Boosting Toolkit

A new toolkit for marketing business events has been developed in response to demand from associations hosting international events in Australia. The toolkit and guidelines have been developed over the past six months with input from associations, convention bureau, convention centres and others involved in attracting delegates to association events. Presented in three parts the toolkit provides step-by-step guides and practical hints and tips to attract more delegates for both associations running their conferences in-house or alongside their Professional Conference Organiser.

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Camping Forum

The New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum brings together New Zealand’s leading campervan companies, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, local government representatives, government agencies and tourism organisations. The Forum is behind the ‘Where can I camp?’ campaign and website which provides camping information to travellers hiring campervans or using privately owned vehicles to camp in New Zealand.

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Penguin Parade iPhone App

The Phillip Island Nature Park has recently launched the Phillip Island Penguin Parade free iPhone application developed with the support of Schweppes Australia. The app offers a map, visitor guide, audio tours in different languages, a wildlife and conservation quiz, photo gallery, penguin calendar and news feeds.

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World Heritage Gateway Centre

The Wet Tropics Management Authority has commissioned a $60,000 pre-feasibility study for the development of an iconic World Heritage Gateway Centre to position Tropical North Queensland as the Centre of Excellence in World Heritage management.

A key priority for the project is raising awareness and building appreciation for the region's significant natural, cultural and ecological diversity as one of the richest learning landscapes in the world.

The project steering committee has representatives from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Tourism Queensland and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

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Nature-Based Reforms

The Western Australian Government has announced the implementation of initiatives aimed at sustaining nature-based tourism activities on conservation lands and waters. The changes follow a review of nature-based tourism in national parks and marine parks managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation. Outcomes of the review have resulted in changes to commercial operating practices, licence and lease terms for tour operators, communication, education and marketing initiatives. These changes are designed to provide greater certainty and flexibility while increasing accountability and delivering conservation and tourism outcomes.

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Tourism Accommodation Australia

Tourism Accommodation Australia is the new body replacing the Australian Hotels Association which represents the Australian accommodation industry.

Members include Starwood, Rydges, Marriott, Hilton, Stamford, Rendezvous, Hyatt and Radisson as well as hotels from the Accor, IHG, Constellation, Mirvac and Choice, as well as a large range of independent hotels.

The five-year strategic business plan will focus on securing over $2.5 million in additional funding, delivering internationally recognised education programs and a partnership with AAAT Star Ratings System and TQUAL accreditation.
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Adventure Tourism Website

A new website has been launched that offers adventure tourism and commercial outdoor operators in New Zealand a one stop shop for information and advice.

It was developed by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand with support from Outdoors New Zealand and funding from the Department of Labour as a result of the recent Adventure Tourism Review.

Content is based on extensive consultation with the adventure and outdoor sector including workshops and discussions with a range of individual businesses and organisations.

The website includes detailed information on how to develop a safety management plan and legislation relevant to tourism operators, volunteer organisations, clubs, schools and tertiary institutions.

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Earth Guest

Accor has launched Earth Guest Research, a platform for sharing knowledge on social and environmental issues relating to the hotel industry.

It aims to contribute to progress in the tourism industry by making sustainable development surveys and methodologies available to all industry operators and the general public.

The first Earth Guest Research publication is dedicated to finding out exactly what hotel guests' concerns and expectations are with regard to sustainable development.

The survey sample comprised nearly 7,000 respondents who had spent at least one night in a cross section of hotel types and segments over the previous 12 months.

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Qantas suffers a decline in Domestic Airline Satisfaction

The latest Roy Morgan Airline Customer Satisfaction Report covering the three months to November 2011 during which time Qantas grounded all planes for days shows:

• Qantas still leading at 84%, but suffering a decline in recent months from a high point of 87% in June 2011;
• Virgin Australia at 82%, is up from 80% in June 2011 and is fast closing the gap on Qantas;
• Both Jetstar and Tiger Airways showed improved levels of customer satisfaction in the latest report.

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Female Travel and Lifestyle Report

According to new research, one in three women admit to becoming more of a 'stress-head' in the lead up to a holiday and 34% want to join the 'mile-high club'. The 2011 Female Travel and Lifestyle Report provides an insight into what makes the modern female traveller tick from using Facebook when holidaying overseas, to how they fund their travel plans. The findings are based on an online survey of over 8000 Australians, including 6500 women published online via social media channels and by invitation to a database of more than 440,000 people .

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Carbon Offsetting and Mitigation by Queensland Tourism Enterprises

A survey of 83 environmentally certified Queensland tourism operators undertaken by Associate Professor Heather Zeppel and Dr Narelle Beaumont of the University of Southern Queensland, has found that 88% of the operators consider climate change an important issue for tourism and agree that it is important to reduce the carbon footprint of their tourism business.

They have adopted a range of carbon mitigation measures, the most popular being energy-efficiency initiatives and waste reduction. However, relatively few have participated in a carbon offsetting program. Details of the tourism project and survey results are available on the project webpage at USQ's Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development.

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Enterprise Connect

The Australian tourism sector can now receive assistance from Enterprise Connect, an initiative run through the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The program provides small and medium businesses across various industries tailored business improvement services. Enterprise Connect advisers can assist tourist accommodation providers, attractions, operators, travel agencies and other travel businesses access independent business advice, funding, workshops, market intelligence and industry connections.

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Marketing Quality

A new TripAdvisor micro site will feature Australian tourism product carrying the national symbol of accreditation, the T-QUAL Tick. It is the first initiative of its kind between a travel site and a tourism quality assurance program.

As part of the campaign TQUAL Accredited products will also receive preferential listing on and involve other activities such as a 'T-QUAL Tick Tour' hosted by renowned chef Matt Moran.

T-QUAL is an industry led initiative supported by the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism and TripAdvisor is used by 44 million consumers globally to plan and book their holidays.

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Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference

Ecotourism Australia's 20th Global Eco Conference will be held in Cairns at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino from Monday 15 October to Wednesday 17 October 2012.

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Global Minister Forum

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation and World Travel Market Ministers' Summit is to have a sister event at during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai from 30 April to 3 May 2012. The forum aims to bring together the leaders of the region to discuss the future of travel in the Middle East and North Africa.

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National Tourism and Events Excellence Conference

The 2012 National Tourism and Events Excellence Conference will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Victoria on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 July 2012.

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Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference

The Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference will be held in Darwin from 29 to 30 March 2012. The conference will provide a unique and inspiring opportunity to fully engage Indigenous tourism in a way that offers a real opportunity to protect and enhance the future of these communities across the region.

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SEGRA 2012

SEGRA - Australia's premier conference on issues affecting regional Australia, will be held from Wednesday 21 November to Friday 23 November 2012 in Terrigal on the Central Coast of NSW.

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