Tony Charters and Associates Tourforce


Tourism is Your Business

Tony Charters and Associates releases a regular newsletter Tourforce keeping stakeholders of the tourism industry connected with current issues, research, events and funding opportunities.

To receive a copy or subscribe to Tourforce please email us.

Reproduction of any items from Tourforce is welcome, with acknowlegement of the source.


Welcome to Tourforce Sustainability Edition! (Edition 6)

Climate Change: Tourism and Travel Sector Needs
Climate Change has reached new heights of awareness through Australia’s recent ratification of the Kyoto protocol and the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. Across the globe and within Australia there are numerous proactive initiatives occurring within the tourism industry to respond to Climate Change.

This edition of Tourforce has a special theme around sustainability and climate. Operators and institutions large and small have an important role to play and we feature the work of some of these enterprises in the following pages.

New economic markets (e.g. emissions trading), businesses (e.g. offset providers) and regulations are rapidly emerging and the objectives and structures of these can be confusing. At the consumer level, there is an unprecedented awareness and desire to contribute to the amelioration of climate change impact.

For tourism and travel organisations to remain competitive in this environment, they will need to:
demonstrate a clear and decisive response to climate change issues within their industry;
provide experiences and opportunities that give consumers a sense of contributing to the amelioration of climate change impacts; and
raise awareness and communicate this commitment clearly to market segments.

There is currently an opportunity for the tourism and travel industry in Australia to take a lead role in each of these three key areas. However, time is of the essence, given:
There is a window of opportunity where being seen as a climate friendly tourism and travel destination, and one of the first, is likely to provide some degree of competitive advantage – however many other destinations are already currently chasing this mantle.
The potential loss of market share and tourism revenue associated with falling behind as a destination responding to climate change.

As I travel around the region I am acutely aware that industry is looking for positive responses to Climate Change. This edition of Tourforce sets out some practical and forward thinking approaches.

From all the team at Tony Charters and Associates I would like to wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year break. We look forward to working with you in 2008.

Tony Charters

Best Practice
Australia's 1st Fully Solar Powered Resort

Hidden Valley, one and a half hours northwest of Townsville, runs on totally self-generated power. Hidden Valley owners, the McLennan’s have, over the years tried to develop ideas to decrease their generator use therefore saving on greenhouse gasses but still giving their guests an optimum experience.

Hidden Valley Cabins has successfully applied through the federally funded. Renewable Remote Power Generation Scheme and has installed a stand alone solar system to run the entire resort 24 hours per day. The system consists of 12 KVA inverter, 90 x 130 watt solar panels delivering 120 volts DC into 60 x 2 volt 1660 amph batteries.

There will also be an interpretive centre for customers to explore the operational aspect of the renewable energy system, timelines on the development of the project and suggested ideas on how the consumer can help with the fight against climate change.

Interpretive signage will be placed throughout the entire resort so guests can walk through at their leisure learning about the system and piecing together the story and learning key aspects of the system.

Hidden Valley Cabins and Tours are Australia’s 1st carbon neutral accommodation and tour company operative on renewable energy. Hidden Valley Cabins and Tours has completed in-house audits following the guidelines set down by Climate Friendly to reduce all carbon emissions. After reducing all carbon based emissions Hidden Valley Cabins & Tours purchased carbon credits to offset the rest of the operational activities to make Hidden Valley Cabins and Tours the first accommodation and tour business in Australia to be Carbon Neutral.

For further information visit:

Sustainable Wildlife Tourism
The Wild Scotland Best Practice Guidelines for Wildlife Watching represent the first industry-approved standards to ensure wildlife tourism in Scotland is sustainable in the long-term for both rural communities and the environment. The guidelines were produced by tourism businesses keen to provide clear guidance to other commercial companies on how to provide an enjoyable wildlife watching experience. Further information:

Adventure Tourism Best Practice Guides

Conservation International and the Adventure Travel Trade Association have partnered to develop and distribute best practices for adventure tour providers operating in sensitive environmental destinations. This partnership aims to assist global travel companies in accessing a series of web-based seminars and training guides on mountain tours, tropical forests, hotel accommodation and marine recreation.

For further information visit:

Climate Change
Ecotourism Australia Responds to Climate Change
As the industry leader for sustainable tourism, Ecotourism Australia is developing a Climate Change Certification module to facilitate best practice within the tourism industry.

The Climate Change Certification module will be suitable for all tourism sectors. Tours, attractions and accommodation providers will be able to apply for certification. Additionally, oganisations that service the tourism industry including regional tourism organisations, travel agencies, consultancies and tourism retail outlets will be eligible to use the module.

Using its 12 years of expertise in operating the globally acclaimed Eco-certification scheme, Ecotourism Australia plans to deliver a product for the entire tourism industry that helps:
improve awareness and understanding of climate change impacts on environment, culture and community;
improve awareness and understanding of the implications of these impacts on the tourism industry;
improve understanding of climate change concepts and initiatives (e.g. carbon trading, offset programs);
increase awareness of “greenhouse friendly” programs and other industry resources;
identify areas of business operations that contribute to greenhouse emissions;
identify areas where operators can take action to directly and indirectly reduce their emissions;
promote best practices in their marketing and visitor communications related to climate change;
identify actions that assist in encouraging and facilitating visitors to directly and indirectly reduce their tourism related contribution to greenhouse emissions;
benchmark participating operators current greenhouse performance and assess and monitor improvements; and
provide practical examples of emissions reduction approaches and tools which have application to operator’s businesses.

The new module will be trailed first in Sout Australia in the Great Barrier Reef. The South Australian Tourism Commission, together with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Protection Authority are major sponsor of the Climate Change Certification module project.

For more information please visit:




Action for Climate Change

Action for Climate Change is a new flagship program managed by Conservation Volunteers, with a range of initiatives to assist business and individuals to reduce their impact on the environment.

Action for Climate Change builds upon the 25 years of experience based upon practical, simple actions in which all of us can participate.

For further information visit:

Davos Declaration  

At the United Nations World Tourism Organization Conference on Climate Change and Tourism in Davos a comprehensive report was commissioned. The report provides a synthesis of the state of knowledge about current and future likely impacts of climate change on tourism destinations around the world, possible implications for tourist demand, current levels and trends in greenhouse gas emissions from the tourism sector, and mitigation measures that can be taken by the tourism industry. The conference was attended by several hundred delegates from over 100 different countries, representing all sectors of the tourism industry (public and private sector, NGOs and governments).

For further information visit:

Green Washing Revisited?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will check the authenticity of several green marketing products after receiving a growing number of complaints on schemes that claim "green" benefits including those associated with carbon credits, carbon neutral, carbon offset and carbon footprint. A largely unregulated carbon-cutting business had sprung up selling "offsets" for projects that claimed to compensate for carbon emissions, such as planting trees or fertilising oceans. The ACCC intends to increase compliance activities with a combination of business and consumer educative initiatives and targeted enforcement action.

For further information visit:'green'-marketing-faces-scrutiny-901297112.html

Carbon Neutral Eurostar

Eurostar is planning to make all journeys carbon neutral through a combination of activities aimed at offsetting and reducing emissions. Earlier in the year Eurostar announced plans to cut CO2 emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012. This target is being achieved through systems advising drivers of their energy consumption, sourcing cleaner sources of electricity and better load factors.

For further information visit:

Quality Assurance and Certification in Ecotourism

This book considers the important topic of quality control and accreditation in ecotourism, describing the mechanisms that can be implemented to ensure quality in all aspects of the industry, namely protected areas, businesses, products and tour guides.

For further information visit:




Current State of Play Climate Change and Tourism

A joint report produced by Sustainable Tourism CRC through two of its leading research centres, investigates the current state of play between climate change and the Australian tourism industry. The study provides a succinct overview of current data related to Greenhouse Gas Emissions produced by the industry as well as forecasts for air travel, shipping, road and rail transport.

For further information visit:


The Business of Ecotourism

This publication discusses the key elements of sustainable tourism and provides ideas and examples on how to succeed in the industry without compromising environmental principles.

It covers topics such as building partnerships, developing cultural tourism strategies, building tour packages, organising festivals and understanding business risk.

For further information visit:

Skål International Ecotourism Awards
The 6th Annual Skål International Ecotourism Awards were presented during the Opening Ceremony of the 68th Skål World Congress held recently in Turkey. Among the winners where Aqua Trek's Fiji Conservation and Sustainable Tourism Program (Fiji Islands), Coral Reef Walk & Restauration Program and Coral Farm (Fiji Islands) and Ecovita Organic Camping and Farm (Ecuador). The awards aim to encourage conservation of the environment, sustainable development and responsible tourism.

The awards received worldwide support with 46 entries from across 24 countries. Winners were evaluated by three independent judges based on contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, business viability and innovation.

For further information visit:

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards

The New Forest was the overall winner of the 2007 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award. The awards recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.

The awards were founded in 2004 by in partnership with The Times, World Travel Market and Geographical Magazine. The Awards differ from other tourism awards in that winners are nominated by tourists.

In 2007 over 1700 nominations were received and put forward to a panel of 13 expert judges.

For further information visit:

Product Development
Business ClimeMate™ Assessment

Tony Charters and Associates have developed a suite of systematic and practical solutions in response to the climate change challenge. The Business ClimeMate™ Assessment is one of these programs, tailored to the needs of tourism and travel organisations seeking to ‘get their own house in order’.

The Business ClimeMate™ Assessment process has been specifically developed to meet the growing demands of tourism organisations under increasing pressure to take rapid and immediate action on climate change. The objective is to empower organisations:

to maintain the economic viability of their business operations under likely climate change scenarios; and
to demonstrate industry leadership in reducing contributions to future greenhouse emissions.

The process incorporates a cost effective series of actions to assess priority risk and impact areas and develop strategic and practical responses. Largely unavoidable impacts of climate change on internal and external business operations are identified and assessed and a strategic Adaptation Response developed. The organisation’s emissions footprint and the degree to which it is contributing to future climate change is also assessed and the need to reduce emissions met through the development of a strategic Mitigation Response.

As with all planning processes, a high level of stakeholder involvement and buy in is considered an important contributor to effective outcomes. A bottom up approach is utilised throughout the process as outcomes are always more successful when all tiers of management and staff are committed to their role in the action plans.

The Business ClimeMate™ Assessment process is straightforward and cost effective, leaving organisations with practical actions and responses. If your organisation is currently grappling with questions of what the complex issues of Climate Change will mean for your business and how to handle them – we can help.

Please feel free to contact us for further information: 07 3012 9575 or by email.

Lonely Planet Guidebook Goes Green

Lonely Planet's new Australia guidebook will feature GreenDex - an index of sustainable accommodation, tours and experiences.

Listings have been selected by Lonely Planet authors as they demonstrate an active sustainable-tourism policy, are involved in conservation or environmental education, are certified by Ecotourism Australia, are owned and operated by local and/or indigenous operators.

For further information visit:

Tourism Portfolio represents Emirates Hotels and Resorts

Tourism Portfolio has been selected to represent Emirates Hotels and Resorts in Australia.

The role is dedicated to representing Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in the Blue Mountains (opening in late 2009) and Emirates properties in Dubai, including Al Maha.

For further information visit:

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Global Market, Competitive Edge
Tourism Futures brings together the key players who drive Australia’s tourism industry – the operators, infrastructure builders, investors, policy makers, researchers and marketers. Delegates receive an holistic perspective on the industry- with leading international and national commentators briefed to provide an over the horizon view on the future of tourism.

The tourism industry operates within an ever dynamic environment. Global influences are more apparent than ever. Climate Change for example represents both a direct and indirect threat to many of Australia’s destinations. Getting the response right on climate change over the next ten years will be crucial.

Significant opportunities exist for the industry too. The amazing growth in available domestic and overseas airline seats though new carriers, additions to existing fleets and new larger aircraft creates great opportunity.

The strength of the Australian dollar creates a new dynamic for the industry – with winners and losers. Travelling to exotic overseas destinations where costs are very low creates a whole new set of competitors for Australian tourism operators. In 2008 Tourism Futures will focus on our leading international competitors – to gain an understanding of their product base and marketing strategies and to develop strategic responses.

Australians are now faced with higher debt servicing costs through rising interest rates. Discretionary income will be on the decline. Competition from other consumer goods will reach new highs. Baby boomers remain cashed up and may benefit from increased inflationary conditions. Tourism Futures will lead an expert discussion on our economic future and its impacts on tourism.

Building Australia’s competitive edge in the global tourism market must be a priority. Importantly, Australia must keep pace with advances in technology, respond to climate change, respond to consumer trends and supply a workforce that delivers service excellence. It means building on Australia’s strengths – its nature and environment, its open and friendly people, indigenous culture, sporting prowess, excellence in event and convention management, climate, health and security. This can only be achieved by industry, government and the community working in partnership.

If you play a role in delivering Australia’s tourism competitive advantage then you must attend Tourism Futures.

Tony Charters, Convenor for Tourism Futures is meeting with CEOs around Australia and Asian Pacific to reinforce the strong commitment to Tourism Futures to a reground agenda.

What’s new for Tourism Futures in 2008?
More internationally recognised speakers – with the support of key sponsors we are tapping into the global talent pool of experts.
More networking opportunities – nightly happy hour 5pm till 6pm, nightly networking events - less formality, more interaction - in the sub-tropical winter nights of the Gold Coast
Flexible program – Day 1 and Day 3 provides a wide range of choices - construct a program that suits your interests.
Tourism Futures Topline – Day two provides an objective assessment of current performance, examines future trends and develops response strategies.
Extended speaking time – providing speakers with the time to develop their topic and take questions – no lengthy introductions – straight to the point.
Interactive discussion and debate – each session will end with expert panel sessions and you get to have your say.
Breakfast briefings – each morning receive high level briefings from industry leaders on cutting edge programs

Program overview
Day 1 – Tourism Futures Forums – a series of highly targeted workshops designed to examine future trends, opportunities, case studies and innovations from across the Asia Pacific region. Significant interactive discussion time maximises learnings.
Day 2 – Tourism Futures Topline – full plenary day with leading global experts and commentators. The Day has three priority functions: an objective analysis of current performance; outlook of key trends across society, demographics, consumer trends, climate change, destination development and marketing; formulating an action agenda to take forward into our businesses.

Day 3 – Tourism Futures Best Practice Workshops – specialised full day workshops to provide applied and practical updates on best practice. Interaction will be a key element and expert speakers shall equip you to quickly gain a global perspective, recognise opportunities for your business and establish networks with other key players.

For further information visit:

Conference Proceedings

The SEGRA 2007 Conference Proceedings and Communiqué are now available for purchase online featuring over 60 key papers from leading commentators such as Dr Keith Suter (Social and Economic Commentator), Oliver Freeman (Managing Director, The Neville Freeman Agency), Bob McNulty (President, Partners for Livable Communities, USA) and The Hon Simon Crean MP (now Minister for Trade).

The Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) 2008 will be held in Albury, New South Wales from 18-20 August.

For further information visit:

5th Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference
Tony Charters spoke at the recent Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference (APECO) organised by the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents. The Conference hold in Terengganu Malaysia recently, was the 5th Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference
Themed 'Marine Ecotourism: Emerging Best Sustainable Practices and Success Stories', the Conference addressed these challenging issues and offered guidance on how to manage marine ecotourism through sustainable practices particularly in the Asia Pacific region.

Tony Charters was invited to speak on the topic of ‘Climate Change and the role of Certification’ which outlined for delegates a range of scenarios that the tourism industry may encounter under IPCC predictious. We then outlined how certification programs such as Eco Certification can assist operators and destinations to mititate against climate damaging practices.
For further information visit:
Sustainable Future for NZ Tourism Industry

Environmental sustainability is a key principle of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 which sets out a goal for the tourism sector to take a leading role in protecting and enhancing the environment.

The strategy was developed out of a process of extensive discussion and consultation and presents a vision that in 2015, tourism will be valued as the leading contributor to a sustainable New Zealand economy.

For further information visit:

Tourism and Conservation Partnerships on Agenda at EA Conference
Themed, “Leading Global Challenges” Ecotourism Australia’s 2007 National Conference provided a forum for the discussion of critical issues facing the ecotourism and nature tourism industries.

Mariglo Laririt, Manager for Environment Ten Knots Group, was one of the Conference’s International Keynote speakers and tackled the issue of ‘Partnerships for Tourism and Conservation in a Philippine Protected Area’.
Using El Nido in Northern Palawan as a case study, Mariglo demonstrated how the resort works together to integrate resource management with development. All tourism establishments and activities of El Nido fall within a government-declared Managed Resource Protected Area. This was a critical process to satisfy the demands of the independent trends of conservation and tourism development.
El Nido is one of few examples where the early presence and activities of a tourism developer and operator, Ten Knots Development Corporation, fundamentally assisted various groups in the policing of conservation goals and setting these into legislation and action. At the same time, Ten Knots has steadily promoted high quality tourism in the area. Ten Knots was a finalist in the prestigeous Tourism for Tomorrow Awards organised by the World Tourism and Travel Council.
Tony Charters and Associates