Beer Island

A beer company in Australia has announced that it has acquired the Southern Great Barrier Reef's Pumpkin Island for the next few years. The island will be known as 'XXXX Island' and is designed to be the ultimate destination for mates' trips away including fishing, touch footy, beach cricket, swimming in the ocean or simply barbecuing the catch of the day with a beer in hand. The XXXX Island campaign will be supported across multiple touch points including TV advertising and in-program integration, online, social media, PR as well as through on-pack and on-premise promotions nationally.

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Cycle Trail Project

The fourth 'great ride' of the New Zealand Cycle Trail project has been completed and is based on the Old Motu Coach Road a set of pre-European Maori trails which served as the only overland route between the Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay in New Zealand's north in 1200 AD. The project was created in 2009 when the New Zealand government provided NZ$50 million to a build a network of 18 world-class cycling experiences across the country to promote healthier lifestyles and bring tourist income to smaller communities.

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A company in the European country of Liechtenstein is providing an alternative to bland meeting rooms and facilities for corporate events by renting out alpine villages. The Rent a Village initiative has made 11 alpine villages in Germany, Austria and Switzerland available to large corporations looking for a memorable setting for their next company get-together. These villages are available for short-term events with options to temporarily rename streets / squares with company-relevant names, have company logos carved into a mountain slope or introduce a custom currency.

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Melbourne to Welcome World Tourism Leader in July

Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has confirmed his attendance at the 2012 National Tourism and Events Excellence Conference to be held 16-17 July 2012 in Melbourne, Victoria.

Mr Rifai will headline the conference program on day one. Mr Rifai has a distinguished career across industry, government and inter-governmental organisations. As the world’s most senior tourism industry representative Mr Rifai will provide delegates with a unique opportunity to tap into his experiences and perspectives on global tourism.

Registration is now open for the conference and with a superb line-up of keynote speakers already confirmed and a fantastic networking program announced, this is a must-attend event for everyone in the Australian and New Zealand tourism and events industry.
To register, please visit




Airline Nanny

Nanny in the Clouds is a Californian service that matches parents travelling with young children with registered and experienced babysitters already booked on the same flight. Babysitters must provide at least two verifiable references and then list upcoming flights on which they're willing to serve as a babysitter in exchange for cash. Parents planning a trip can search for registered nannies on their flight with hourly rates and expectations negotiated individually.

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Meet and Seat

Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) has released a new Meet and Seat program, which allows solo travellers to choose a seat-buddy travelling to the same destination, based on their social media profiles.

The new service will allow passengers to pick their ideal in-flight seat buddy based on their occupation, mutual interests and appearance supplied by Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Bookings are currently available on flights between Amsterdam and New York, San Francisco and Sao Paulo.

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Healthy Hotels

The InterContinental Hotels Group, one of the world's largest hotel companies is investing $150 million to launch a chain of hotels called Even Hotels, specifically aimed at fitness-minded travellers. The new chain is designed to appeal to 40% of the travelling public or 17 million Americans by providing solutions for all aspects of wellness in the areas of exercise, food, work and rest. The group hopes to open 100 hotels in the next five years, with the first opening in early 2013.

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Sustainability Initiative

A new sustainability program aimed at assisting affiliate hotels to increase efficiency through sustainability has been launched by Worldhotels. The initiative sees the publication of a group-wide sustainability policy, as well as the introduction of resources and tools to assist nearly 500 hotels across the globe in their individual efforts towards sustainability. Five core areas of opportunity have been identified including energy, water, waste, carbon and measurement support.

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New National Landscape

The Great Barrier Reef has been formally inducted into Australia’s National Landscapes Program, a joint initiative between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia that brings together conservation and tourism to promote Australia’s most iconic landscapes and their surrounding regions.

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Best Practice Partnership

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Ecotourism Australia have renewed their partnership, which began in 2004. As part of the agreement, Ecotourism Australia will continue to independently assess and certify tourism businesses operating within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The program aims to enhance visitor experiences and play a role in protecting local biodiversity of the marine environment by rewarding operators with extended permits of 15 years. There are now 52 eco-certified operators in the High Standard Tourism Program and over 60% of visitors to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are using eco-certified operators.

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Volunteer Greeters Program

Brisbane has developed a Greeters Program to provide a deeper appreciation of the art, history, heritage, architecture and culture of the city. The campaign is part of Brisbane's Economic Development Plan to boost and revitalise opportunities for local businesses. Twenty seven cities worldwide currently participate in the Global Greeters Network including New York, Berlin, Paris, Adelaide and Melbourne. The guided walking tours last up to four hours with a maximum of six guests per group. Visitors can book their tours online or at the Brisbane Visitor Information Centre in the Queen Street Mall.

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Airport Yoga

San Francisco International Airport has opened the world's first airport yoga room in its recently refurbished Terminal 2. Located just past the security checkpoint, the airport's yoga room aims to offer visitors an opportunity for contemplation and self-reflection. Painted in calming hues of blue, the room features a floating wall standing separate from the four load bearing walls of the room and low light levels. To help travelers find the new yoga room, directional signs have been installed featuring a stylized image of a person in the Lotus position.

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Sightseer Pad

A new company in Madrid, Spain is allowing visitors to hire iPads loaded with useful apps designed to help sightseers explore the city including Metro Madrid, Weather HD, City Maps 2Go, Emergency Numbers, iTranslate, and Prado Museum Audioguide. As well as catering for individuals and families, PadInTheCity offers rentals to hotels and corporate events organizers who can implement their own branding and apps.

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Fair Green World

In less than five years, £10 million has been raised by Thomson and First Choice customers following the introduction of the World Care Fund, a donation scheme giving holidaymakers the chance to support worthwhile projects when booking their holiday. All money raised goes to the Travel Foundation, the United Kingdom's sustainable tourism charity to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in destinations.

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Margaret River Ecotourism Site

Expressions of interest are being sought from private investors and tourism operators interested in a unique ecotourism opportunity at Wharncliffe Mill in Bramley National Park. The site will be released under the Naturebank program, which aims to position Western Australia as a premier ecotourism destination and is jointly managed by Tourism Western Australia and the Department of Environment and Conservation with funding from Royalties for Regions. The site has existing budget-style facilities with potential for a quality ecotourism operation offering unique environmental experiences.

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World Tourism Barometer

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer International tourist arrivals grew by over 4 percent in 2011 to 980 million. The 2012 forecast for international tourism is to continue growing at a slower rate to reach the historic one billion mark by the end of the year. The World Tourism Barometer monitors the short-term evolution of tourism and contains an overview of short-term tourism data from destination countries and air transport, a retrospective and prospective evaluation of tourism performance by a panel of tourism experts and selected economic data relevant for tourism.

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Mobile Travel

A recent study by travel research firm PhoCusWright has found that mobile travel bookings are expected to triple by 2013, signalling a shift in traveller behaviour and the way travel is booked online. According to the study, gross travel bookings made in the United States on mobile devices reached nearly US$2.6 billion in 2011, representing 2.4 per cent of all online travel purchases. And over the next two years, that share is anticipated to grow to over $8 billion, or 6.5 per cent of all internet bookings including transactions on Smartphones, tablet computers and other portable gadgets.

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Tourism Grants

Tourism businesses across Australia can apply for grants of up to $100,000 to develop and refresh their products under the next round of T-QUAL Grants. The Tourism Quality Projects program is designed to encourage private investment in locally based projects and tourism experiences.

Grants will be awarded to help build the online capacity of tourism providers and address labour and skills shortages. Applications close 19 April 2012.

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Accor Hotels gain T-QUAL Accreditation

Large tourism organisations such as hotel chains, airlines and restaurant franchises are now able to become accredited and display the T-QUAL Tick as part of an expansion of the accreditation framework, Under a pilot conducted by the Tourism Quality Council of Australia, Accor Hotels is the first large tourism organisation to gain accreditation and display the T-QUAL Tick. With the addition of Accor Hotels, 12,600 operators are now T-QUAL accredited.

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World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit

The World Travel & Tourism Council's annual Global Summit will be held this year in Tokyo, Japan from 16 to 19 April 2012. The summit is the world's only gathering of public and private sector leaders of Travel & Tourism at the highest level, representing all sectors of our industry and all regions of the world.

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Savannah Guides School

The next Savannah Guides School will be being held at Capricorn Caves near Rockhampton, Queensland from 12 to 15 April 2012. The school will feature professional development for guides and business managers as well government, academic, conservation and tourism sectors. Schools are structured to focus on increasing knowledge and professionalism through shared experiences and formal learning.

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International Conference on Tourism and the Media

The 2nd UNWTO International Conference on Tourism and the Media will be held from 26 to 27 April 2012 in Marsa Alam, Egypt. Sponsored by CNN, attendees will gain key insights into tourism-related communications, media relations for destinations and the sector at large.

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Wildlife Tourism Workshop

Registrations and submission of abstracts are now open for Wildlife Tourism Australia's 3rd National Workshop to be held at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast from 16 to 18 May 2012.

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New Team Members at Tony Charters & Associates

Tony Charters & Associates is pleased to welcome Rebecca Fawcett-Smith to the team as Business and Event Manager, and Personal Assistant to Tony Charters.

Rebecca has over fifteen years experience in the finance industry and brings to the role strong organisation and administrative skills.

This month we  farewelled Annelies Venner who has been with the organisation for over five years and was Event Director for the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference. Annelies is returning to university to undertake further study and we wish her well in this exciting pursuit.

Rebecca Arthurell has been promoted to the role of Director of Marketing for the company and Event Director of the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference. 

To contact the staff at Tony Charters & Associates please email or phone+61 7 3012 9575