With the TIES Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference being staged in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013 Tourforce will publish a series of ecotourism related articles from well known Kenyan environmental journalist Mary Mwendwa. Mary is freelance radio producer/presenter and writer of environmental stories in Kenya. She is a member of the Kenya Correspondents Association and also a member of a network of journalists who write on water (Water Journalists Africa). She has a passion for environmental conservation and restoration of Kenya's dwindling biodiversity resources.
A Freshwater Jewel in the Kenyan Rift Valley

The unique biodiversity of Lake Naivasha helps improve livelihoods of people living around the lake through ecotourism. Designated as a Ramsar site and an important bird area, Lake Naivasha in Kenya's Rift Valley is a source of livelihood to Naivasha's population of 250,000 who depend on the lake for fishing, farming and also making products from plants like papyrus which dot part of its waters.


The fishing industry is lucrative here and aquatic birds are also an important component around the lake and a great attraction for ecotourists.

Several ecosystem services are available here and visiting Hells Gate National Park is another key ecotourism activity. All these help the people here in Naivasha in their day to day lives. At Hells Gate, many locals have been employed as tour guides, some sell curio products to tourists who visit the area.

As Kenya strives to achieve its millennium development goals, poverty alleviation still remains a challenge, this can only be achieved if its people are taught on how to manage their resources in a sustainable manner and at the same time improve on their livelihoods. Ecotourism being one of them.

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Article courtesy of Mary Mwendwa, Journalist

Great Walks

The Great Walks of Australia initiative has been launched by Tourism Australia to increase accessibility and build awareness of Australia as a world-class walking destination. The collection of seven independently owned and managed destination-based walks exploring Australia's magnificent landscapes. They include Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Freycinet Experience Walk, The Arkaba Walk, The Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, The Great Ocean Walk, The Larapinta Trail and The Maria Island Walk.

Further information: http://greatwalksofaustralia.com.au/

World's Biggest Airport

China plans to open a new mega-airport that will be located just outside the city of Beijing and will transport up to 130 million passengers a year - 23 million more than both Heathrow and JFK put together. The Beijing Daxing International Airport will take up 55 square kilometres of space and have space for up to eight commercial runways. The new airport on course to open in 2017 will include a ground transport hub to transport passengers to Beijing via a high-speed rail link.

Further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing_Daxing_

Frequent Flyer Donations

The Extra Mile collects frequent flyer miles from those that don't use them so that friends and family of the terminally ill can visit their loved ones. The organisation aims to make it easier for families to embark on emergency visits to see ill relatives. The organisation has partnered with charities such as The Hirshberg Foundation and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to help spread word about the system.

Further information: http://thextramile.org

Backpacker Trail

Backpacker Trail The Pacific Coast tourism drive from Sydney to Brisbane has launched a new backpacker experience trail. The trail highlights hostel accommodation, activities, attractions and annual events along the iconic 930km drive. The site also includes information for travellers about working holiday visas, travel tips, transport options, information on the Harvest Trail, WWOOFERS and Helpx. It is one of six new experience trails with Food and Wine, Culture and Heritage and Nationals Park already live on the website.

Further information: http://www.pacificcoast.

Human Brochure

Canberra's world-first advocacy campaign designed to broaden the appeal of the Australian Capital city has seen 250 people tweet, post and share their experiences in the to an audience of approximately 4.2 million. The Human Brochure campaign will bring 500 social media savvy Australians to Canberra for a free ultimate weekend getaway to share their experiences via social media including tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram and Foursquare check-ins. The next group of 250 Humans will visit Canberra in February 2013.

Further information: http://humanbrochure.com.au/

Palmersaurus Rex

The Palmer Coolum Resort on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland has welcomed the first of a proposed 160 dinosaur attractions, potentially making it the largest dinosaur park in the world. Shipped from China, the first lifelike dinosaur is a 1.7 tonne tyrannosaurus that took three months to construct from steel frames, foam padding and spray-on plastic skin. The resort is also planning to house up to 500 vintage cars from around the world.

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

Marine Tourism Contingency Plan

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is seeking feedback from the tourism industry on their draft Marine Tourism Contingency Plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This draft policy has been developed in conjunction with the tourism industry to improve support for marine tourism operators impacted by a severe environmental event. Comments are due by 5 December 2012.

Tony Charters & Associates assisted with the draft Marine Tourism Contingency Plan.

Further information: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/about-us/consultation/current-proposals/draft-marine-tourism-contingency-plan

Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct

ECPAT-USA and the Adventure Travel Trade Association have signed the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, an internationally accepted industry-driven corporate responsibility initiative to protect children from trafficking and sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. As a signatory they join Accor Hotels, Carlson Companies, Delta Air Lines, Hilton Worldwide, Sabre Holdings and Wyndham Worldwide in disseminating materials, providing education and promoting the Code. ECPAT-USA is a children's rights organization that fights to protect children worldwide from exploitation and trafficking through advocacy, awareness, policy and legislation.

Further information: http://ecpatusa.org/thecode

Cruise Ship Strategy

The Cruise Western Australia Committee supported by Tourism Western Australia has developed a Cruise Shipping Strategic Plan 2012-2020. The plan focuses on marketing and awareness, port infrastructure, landside destination development and strengthening industry capacity and ownership. Some of the activities include regional Cruise Ready Workshops, a 'Cruise Exchange' to bring key cruise wholesalers to Western Australia and marketing initiatives to raise awareness of the State as an attractive cruise destination.

Further information:http://www.tourism.wa.gov.au

Amendments to Increase Ecotourism and Cut Red-Tape in Queensland

Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson has announced the Newman Government will deliver on its election commitment to grow eco-tourism and cut red tape through amendments to the state's nature conservation laws.

Mr Dickson said changes to the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Forestry Act 1959 and the Brisbane Forest Park Act 1977 would increase access and streamline unnecessary and costly regulations currently choking Queensland's national parks.

The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 will simplify the permit system for pre-existing infrastructure on national park estate land, such as powerlines, water pipelines and telecommunications towers. Additionally, the amendments will reduce the masses of red tape surrounding permits for occupation of State forests under the Forestry Act.

Further information: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2012/11/13/amendments-to-increase-ecotourism-and-cut-redtape


Irish Ecotourism
A new organisation has been launched in Dublin to establish Ireland as a world class ecotourism destination with a strong focus on high ecotourism standards. Ecotourism Ireland has created an ecotourism quality label to stimulate the industry and help guide visitors in choosing ecotourism products on offer. The certification program includes responsible marketing, biodiversity and conservation, product development, environmental sustainable practises, mentoring and networking and using local natural resources.

Further information: http://www.ecotourismireland.ie

T-QUAL Tick Micro Site

The T-QUAL Tick micro site on TripAdvisor has been relaunched to spearhead the 2012/13 consumer marketing campaign for T-QUAL Accreditation. The updated micro site now showcases nearly 5,000 T-QUAL endorsed products, adding consumer reviews to their T-QUAL Tick of quality assurance. A print advertising campaign will run from November 2012 to June 2013.

Further information: http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/tqual

Sweet Bed

The Accor Hotel Group has consulted a team of sociologists and doctors to create the new "Sweet Bed by Ibis". This is the first time a hotel group has designed an entire bed which will be adapted to suit different geographical markets and cultures. The new bespoke bed, uniforms and signage are part of the Ibis economy hotel brand makeover, which will grow the existing network of more than 70 hotels in Australia and 1600 worldwide, making it the largest global economy hotel.

Further information: http://www.ibis.com/gb/discovering-ibis/bedding.shtml

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_

Fingerprint Recognition
The Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel will soon feature technology that recognizes guests' fingerprints and automatically updates their Facebook profiles. The hotel has plans to install touchscreens around the hotel which will allow guests to access their own account by placing their finger on a biometric sensor rather than typing in a password. Visitors will then be able to take a photo, update their current location or like hotel events. The system will be launched in 2013 and will replace the current method of equipping guests with RFID-enabled wristbands.

Further information: http://www.ushuaiabeachhotel.com/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=21I1EveJpHg


Virgin Travel Insurance
Virgin Money Australia is now offering travellers comprehensive travel insurance for domestic and international trips. Virgin Travel Insurance includes cancellations, overseas medical, luggage, accidents, personal items, travel documents, theft of cash, credit cards and more. Partnering with Allianz Global Assistance, Virgin Travel Insurance also provides 24/7 overseas emergency medical assistance, including access to a specialist team of doctors, registered nurses and support staff.

Further information: http://virginmoney.com.au/insurance/travel-insurance/

TreadRight Foundation

The Travel Corporation has relaunched their philanthropic arm, The Conservation Foundation to provide financial assistance to sustainable tourism projects on a global level. Since 2008, the TreadRight Foundation has committed more than US$1.5 million to conservation projects including the development of a best practice guide for the environmental performance of river cruise operations, sponsoring future environmental leaders with Contiki and the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership fund, and supporting Britain's National Trust appeal to safeguard the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.

Further information: http://www.treadright.org/?dm_i=YI8,106OV,72QJVI,321H7,1

Elephant Coffee
Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas now serve Black Ivory Espresso one of the most exclusive coffees in the world, which retails for around AUD$1100 per kilogram. The coffee is made from top-quality Arabica coffee beans that are digested and naturally refined by Thai elephants. A percentage of each sale is donated to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand where the coffee is produced to help fund a specialist veterinarian, medicine and a new laboratory to preserve the species.

Further information: http://www.anantara.com/golden-triangle-asian-elephant-foundation/


The Flinders Ranges National Landscape Steering Committee has launched its Operator Upskilling project funded under Australia's National Landscapes Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program. The project will provide workshops to help tourism operators in the Flinders Ranges develop new experiences, focused largely on adventure and geotourism. The Flinders Ranges is one of 13 National Landscapes sharing in $1 million funding aimed at boosting tourism experiences in some of Australia's most beautiful landscapes.

Further information: http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/business/tq/tgrants/

Responsible Tourism Awards

Winners of the 2012 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards were announced recently at the World Travel Market in London. The awards are a partnership between online travel directory responsibletravel.com, Metro Newspaper, Geographical Magazine and the World Travel Market. The central tenet of the Awards is that all types of tourism from niche to mainstream can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people.

Further information: http://www.responsibletravel.com/awards/

Food for Thought

A training and workforce development report for the hospitality and tourism industries has been released by the Western Australian Government. The Food for Thought Report focuses on the frequently identified issues by the tourism and hospitality sector, with a view to identifying strategies for future investment to support the industry.

Further information: http://www.futurenow.org.au/media/Food_for_Thought_

World Youth Tourism Conference

The 22nd World Youth & Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) will be held in Sydney from 17 to 20 September 2013. WYSTC is a global youth, student education and travel event which allows buyers and suppliers from around the world to network with fellow decision makers, take advantage of new market opportunities, learn from industry experts and discuss critical government policy issues.

Further information: http://wystc.org/