Huangshan World Heritage Area

China’s Huangshan Scenic Area, is participating in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Criteria for Destinations Early Adopter program.

The GSTC has invited destinations from around the world to support and sponsor the research and development of the GSTC Destination Criteria.  The Early Adopters Program is now underway with the participation of, Fjord Norway; Teton County, Wyoming; Mt. Huangshan, China; and St. Kitts & Nevis. 

The ground-breaking work in these four diverse destinations will test and provide feedback on the Destination Criteria.  These destinations were chosen for their positive impact on the environment, their economic and social benefits to communities, and their education of visitors and residents, among other factors.

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Tony Charters, a member of the GSTC Destination Stewardship Committee visited Dr. Jiwei Xu, Chair of the Mt. Huangshan Administrative Committee and his key directors earlier this month to invite him to provide a keynote address to the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference in Cairns this October.

It is pleasing to see to Dr Jiwei Xu was recently elected to the Board of the GSTC.

Dr Jiwei Xu and Tony Charters meeting to discuss the Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference.

China Strategy

The Tourism Western Australia China Strategy 2012-2015 is now available for public comment. The strategy identifies opportunities for Western Australia to increase its share of Chinese visitors by 2020. It identifies key strategies for consumer marketing, trade, aviation, industry development and strategic partnerships. The strategy was developed following a period of comprehensive research and collaboration with key stakeholders from industry and government.

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Tropical Landscapes

The Wet Tropics has been recognised as one of Australia's premier tourism destinations, with the region announced as Australia's 14th National Landscape. The National Landscapes Program is a partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia that identifies and promotes Australia's best nature destinations to the world. It aims to achieve environmental, social, and economic outcomes for these natural areas and their surrounding regions.

The Wet Tropics will feature prominently in the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Cairns 15-17 October 2012.

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National Park Mountain Biking


The Whitsunday Great Walk track through the Conway National Park will now function as a 36 kilometre dual walking and biking track. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has been working extensively with local interest groups and Mountain Bike Australia to ensure the track design was safe and fits environmental requirements. Signs identify different track sections and alert walkers to the presence of mountain bikers with three grades of track from beginners to an expert 'black diamond' run encompassing creek crossings and old logging roads.

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The Qantas Group has launched Hooroo, Australia's newest online accommodation booking platform. The website combines inspiring content, insider travel tips and an easy booking engine enabling travellers to dream, plan and book their next trip in one place.

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Creative Challenge

Tourism Northern Territory has won the 2012 TripAdvisor creative advertising challenge and USD$800,000 in click-based advertising media value on the world's largest travel website. Entries were judged by a panel of sales and marketing experts with Tourism Northern Territory's campaign created by Visual Jazz Isobar in Sydney designed to educate potential travellers on the benefits of Northern Territory by bringing the destination to life with 'Virtual Tour Guides'. The winning campaign will run on TripAdvisor from September to November 2012.

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Indigenous Dreamworld

The Australian Government has announced an indigenous tourism grant to help fund the creation of an indigenous tourism experience at Dreamworld. The new attraction will give visitors the chance to learn about different indigenous cultures through various interpretive experiences. The four-year, $40 million T-QUAL grants program is a competitive, merit-based process to create sustainable economic growth in the tourism industry.

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Mossman Gorge Centre
A new $20 million ecotourism development at the Mossman Gorge World Heritage Site has been created by the Indigenous Land Corporation and is being managed by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia. The Mossman Gorge Centre will provide ongoing work opportunities for local Indigenous people in retail, hospitality and tourism.

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Sustainable Hotels

At the RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Marriott International, Inc. and the US government agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation announced a partnership to support new environmentally sustainable hotel development in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean where water and energy resources are limited. The loans will be available to hotel owners to fund projects across Marriott's 14 lodging brands, including Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Courtyard and Fairfield.

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Family Friendly

A new Australian website aims to take the frustration out of finding holiday accommodation for families. The site is the brainchild of Melbourne mother of two and is an extension of word-of-mouth networks. Parents can use the website to research accommodation, share their own finds and also make recommendations to other families. The website currently features listings for more than 350 properties worldwide and a blog called Family Gathering.

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TreadRight Foundation

TreadRight is a conservation foundation established by The Travel Corporation and its respective travel brands to support existing conservation organisations and encourage the sustainable development of tourism. TreadRight supports projects that provide assistance across a range of areas such as empowering indigenous communities to protect country and culture, uncovering and preserving historical sites and minimising pollution and the impact of tourism on precious waterways such as the Nile.

TreadRight had provided support in the past to many destinations in need include NZD 50,000 to the New Zealand  Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and AUD 50,000 to the Australian Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appea.

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Traveller's Philanthropy Fund

The Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance and Sustainable Travel International have joined forces to create the Ethiopian Traveler's Philanthropy Fund for tourists to make secure donations to help Ethiopian communities generate income and conserve their environment. These donations are then integrated into authentic and interactive Ethiopian travel experiences.

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Compostable Toothbrush

Canadian brand World Centric has created a compostable toothbrush for eco-conscious travelers. The product is made from a plant-based material rather than being manufactured from petroleum-based plastics. The brushes also come with a travel case that is also completely compostable.

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Shark Bay

The Western Australian State Government has released a tourism investment opportunity in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area for investors looking to develop and operate a world-class ecotourism experience. The site in Francois Peron National Park is located about 10km north of Monkey Mia and will be released under the Naturebank program jointly managed by Tourism Western Australia and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

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Tourism Crown

Casino operator Crown has announced plans to build a six-star luxury hotel resort in both Perth and Sydney. Construction of the AUD$568 million, 500-room Crown Towers Perth hotel including convention facilities, restaurants and high-end retail will commence early next year and take three years to complete. The AUD1 billion hotel development will be located in the Barangaroo South precinct in Sydney.

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Great Keppel Island Resort

The Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed development on Great Keppel Island is now open for public comment. The $600 million low-rise, ecotourism resort is to be constructed over a 12 year period and is proposed to fit with the unique aspects of Great Keppel Island. The plan includes a new beachfront hotel at Fisherman's Beach, several styles of low rise resort accommodation, a marina, retail village, day spa, Greg Norman designed golf course, upgraded airstrip, Research Centre and a 575 hectare Environmental Protection Area. Public submissions close 7 September 2012.

Further information:

Investment in Tourism: challenges and opportunities

For the first time, Ecotourism Australia's Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference will feature a dedicated session to address investment in the ecotourism industry across Australia. Tourism investment in accommodation, transport, attractions and tour operations is critical for the growth of tourism as a whole and particularly for ecotourism over the next ten years.

Investment in Tourism will be held on day one, Monday 15 October and tackles the key issues associated with investment in Queensland and the tourism industry Australia-wide. The Global Eco Conference will be held 15-17 October 2012 at the Pullman Reef Hotel, Cairns, QLD.

Investment in Tourism will feature the following presentations::

  • Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games: A Fresh Approach to Ecotourism Investment in Queensland - Neal Muller, General Manager, Tourism Division
  • Tourism Australia: Tourism Investment: building better regional product - Craig Davidson, General Manager Destination Development
  • The Federal Group: Investment and Destination Development: a best practice approach - Greg Farrell, Managing Director
  • Successful Ecotourism: case studies - Sheena Walshaw, Managing Director, Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours and David Hudson, General Manager, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Further information:

Globus Religious Travel Study

According to a new religious travel study conducted by TravelStyles and commissioned by the Globus family of brands, 25% of travellers are using a faith-based vacation as a motivator to travel internationally for the first time. The study found that more than 16 million people are likely to take an international religion-oriented holiday at some time in their lives, with Italy and Israel the most desirable destinations.

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Cruise Destination Survey

New research from Tourism Research Australia undertaken in partnership with Tourism Western Australia has highlighted opportunities to increase cruise ship passenger expenditure. The Western Australian Destination Visitor Survey evaluated the visitor experience of cruise passengers to identify product gaps and opportunities for improvement to tourism at key ports. The study was based on a survey with 430 passengers from ten cruise ships in Fremantle, Bunbury, Geraldton and Broome between February and April 2012.

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Sustainable Travel Benchmarking Study

The Global Business Travel Association has released new research showing that sustainability initiatives are playing an increasingly important factor in managed travel programs for the United States, Europe and Australia. The 2012 Sustainable Travel Policies Benchmarking Study found that companies are focusing on sustainability measures that can generate savings for companies, influence traveller behavior to make better decisions and are looking to establish relationships with green-friendly suppliers.

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The International Ecotourism Society Board

Tony Charters has been elected to the Washington DC based  The international Ecotourism Society Advisory Board. 

Tony previously served on the Board as a member and deputy Chair throughout the period 2001- 2008. The Board will gather at the upcoming Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference 17-19 September at Monterey, California.

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Travel Insurance Shopping

Shoppers picking up the groceries from Woolworths can now also book travel insurance as the retail giant expands its range of insurance products. The company launched into the insurance market in August last year with car and travel insurance added this month to meet customer needs.

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Global Eco Conference

Ecotourism Australia will be staging the 20th Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland from 15 to 17 October 2012. The conference brings together leading players from across the globe to examine best practice in sustainable tourism, tourism in protected and heritage areas, ecotourism, Indigenous tourism, interpretation, marketing, sustainability, strategic partnerships and climate change response.

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Australian Tourism Directions Conference

The Australian Tourism Directions Conference will be held at Parliament House in Canberra on 1 November 2012. The conference attracts leaders and decision makers from the tourism industry as well as senior Australian Government officials, academics and media. It plays an important role in reporting on progress of Tourism 2020, the whole of government and industry strategy for Australian tourism's sustainable future growth.

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