Airline Bear Essentials 

Air New Zealand has released a ground breaking in-flight safety video, featuring celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls and filmed on New Zealand’s world-renowned Routeburn Track. The Bear Essentials of Safety video has been watched by millions of people on YouTube and is the first time a safety video has been filmed outside the normal airline environment. The three day shoot involved 50 cast and crew including Air New Zealand staff, Department of Conservation advisors, safety experts, Scouts from the local town of Te Anau, celebrity entomologist Ruud Kleinpaste and of course adventurer Bear Grylls.

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Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The 2013 Winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The awards are one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry, recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations globally. Applications were received from 46 countries, representing all seven continents including global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges. Entries were assessed by an international panel of judges against a range of criteria including delivering social and economic benefits to local people and undertaking environmentally friendly operations.Tony Charters has been on the judging panel of this event since 2005.

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Tourism Vending Machines

ourism British Columbia placed a giant vending machine in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco opening the locals up to a whole new world of British Columbia holiday experiences in the form of vending machine gifts, both big and small.

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Low Cost Trains

French railway SNCF has launched a low-cost rail fare service which will offer low cost fares on high-speed trains between the Paris region and southeastern France for EUR 10 and upwards. Children under 12 traveling with an adult, meanwhile, will pay a flat EUR 5 fare. Among the destinations benefiting from Ouigo service will be Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Lyon St-Exupéry, Marne-la-Vallée, Marseille, Montpellier, Nîmes and Valence. There will be no first-class service or refreshments available and luggage space will be limited.

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Luggage Tracker

TrakDot is a small transmitting device that keeps users up to date on the whereabouts of their possessions and lets them know if their luggage has successfully arrived at their destination. Those using the device first register it, along with their mobile number or email address. Using technology similar to GPS, the TrakDot is placed into their suitcase and a text message or email is sent to the registered number or address to alert the owner if their luggage has made it to the same destination. The device is small enough to fit inside a suitcase and operates on two AA batteries.

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Picture Our Planet

The Rainforest Alliance is again running its “Picture Our Planet” photo contest which will see the grand prize winner embark on an eight-day, seven-night eco-tour for two to Costa Rica donated by members of the Tour Operators Promoting Sustainability program. This year’s categories are iconic destinations, forests, water, wildlife, adventure tourism, people and culture. All photos must be submitted before 30 June 2013, with winners announced after 31 July 2013.

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Wet Tropics 25th Birthday

Twenty-five years ago the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area was inscribed on the World Heritage list. To celebrate the Wet Tropics Management Authority has developed a toolkit with logos, key messages and website links to assist in promoting the World Heritage Area. Tony Charters was acting Executive Director from 1990-1991 in the establishment phase of this authority.

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Sweet Waters Tented Camp mitigates carbon footprint

By Mary Mwendwa

A chilly morning, birds chirping, impalas grazing , two rhinos grazing and marabu stalks gazing in the air.  Breakfast at the Sweet Waters Restaurant makes one's mouth water. Nicely displayed with the very welcoming and jovial staff. All kinds of organic fruits are displayed on the tables. Potatoes, porridge, masala tea, coffee, beef and pork and just among the many different types of delicacies tourists have to choose from. I settle on millet porridge and sweet potatoes which remind me of my grandmothers breakfast menu back in the village.

One would only imagine of having nicely decorated tented camp facilities that offer a  relaxing atmosphere to tourists, game and a general environment full of nature bonding. I am with a team of staff who work with Serena group who are responsible for managing the Sweet Water tented camp housed at the Olpejeta conservancy in Nanyuki. Kenya. The main mission of the day is planting trees. In the compound,  there are several tree species some that have been planted by VIPs and plated.The late Nobel prize winner, Wangari  Mathai planted a tree three years ago - one of the trees close to the front office path. His Imperial Highness Crown Prince of Japan has a tree here too. All planted during their visit at the Olpejeta house. Richard Vigne, CEO of Olpejeta conservancy and General manager, Sweet Waters tented camp were witnesses of the activity.

Located on the leeward of Mt .Kenya, dry spells are usually experienced. This poses a threat to the entire ecosystems around the conservancy. According to Bob Oguya, Chief Naturalist /Environmentalist, Serena Hotels,  trees have contributed to tourism industry. "Apart from a mitigating impact on the ozone layer, trees have generally improved on the habitat area which was once depleted due to human activities like charcoal burning." He further explains to me how the trees have also helped in reduce the carbon footprint of tourists through aircrafts and vehicles. 





Some of the tree species planted are acacia, commonly known as fever tree, Euclea, croton macro status and Warbugia which is not edible by wild animals. James Odenyo, general manager at Olpejeta house and Sweet Waters Camp confirms to me the presence of the big five - elephant , lion, rhino , buffalo and leopard.

Timothy Oloo, Naturalist, affirms how the area has remained a wildlife area due to the environment integrity activities they get involved with." It's not just about the game drives and the wildlife here, we go beyond that because without planting trees it's easy to lose the natural habitat."

Schools and the community around the Olpejeta Conservancy have been instrumental in conserving the environment. Matanya primary, Sweet Waters secondary and Njoguini primary are some of the schools Serena Group of hotels and lodges work with in the area. Pupils are motivated when they take care of individual trees. Through this many have developed a keen interest on tree planting within their schools. Communities are supplied with seedlings for free. 

Adopt a Penguin

Ramada Phillip Island is helping the Penguin Foundation to protect and preserve the only remaining little penguin colony at Phillip Island. The nature resort is sponsoring the adopt-a-penguin program and conservation work. The money will also go towards projects like monitoring penguin burrows and sponsoring an Honours student to research penguins for 12 months. The sponsorship is in line with the company's global Wyndham Green program, which aims to reduce its environmental impact through a number of programs and initiatives.

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City Hotel Investment




Brisbane Marketing has produced a guide to hotel investment in conjunction with Brisbane City Council and the State Government to attract international investors to Brisbane. Research in the guide estimates Brisbane is losing around 87,000 visitors and $130 million in visitor expenditure a year due to a shortage of hotel rooms. According to the research, Brisbane is an attractive proposition for potential investors and has been ranked as the fourth most sought-after location for hotel investment in the world in the Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels' Hotel Investor Sentiment Survey.

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Community Tourism

Keteka is an online, community-based adventure travel guide that leverages the global Peace Corps network to promote tourism in underdeveloped communities around the world. It’s mission is to provide thorough and accurate information about the countries and communities in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve and to make this information accessible to travellers with a desire to interact and engage the local culture off the beaten path.

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Free business reviews to assist the tourism sector

Enterprise Connect, an Australian Government program that provides tailored business advisory services for small and medium sized businesses, is offering Australian businesses in the tourism sector comprehensive and confidential business reviews delivered at no charge and carried out on site. To be eligible, businesses applying must be solvent, have revenue or expenditure of between A$1 million and A$100 million in the current financial year or one of the two preceding financial years, possess an Australian company number and have a trading history of at least three years.

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Mobile Holidays

A new study has found Australians are increasingly booking holidays while on the road. Research conducted by PayPal found Australia is one of the company’s leading markets in regards to mobile payments, particularly in travel. The number of Australians purchasing travel nearly doubled year-on-year while one out of every five consumers booking travel via PayPal is now made through a mobile device.

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Tourism Distribution

The new Distribution 2020: Situational Analysis report provides the tourism industry with an overview of current distribution approaches and potential future models for Australia's key holiday markets. The report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers involved extensive consumer research and interviews with more than 60 travel agents, wholesalers, inbound tour operators, online agents and direct sellers. As a result of the report Tourism Australia and State/Territory partners are reviewing existing distribution activities including trade events and missions to look for potential efficiencies and better value for industry.

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Golf Travel Report

A new survey of golf tour operators compiled by KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice reveals that Turkey is now the fourth most popular golf travel destination after Spain, Portugal and Scotland. The Golf Travel Insights 2013 report, which surveyed more than 110 golf tour operators from 38 countries, found that the majority of golf holidays are based around a four to seven-night stay, with 40% of bookings being for small groups of people. The survey also revealed the growing use of smart phones and tablets and the increasing influence of digital and social media platforms, including TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter.

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Hostelling Sustainability Initiative

Hostelling International USA has launched an eco-certification and sustainability monitoring system across a number of hostels. Developed in partnership with Sustainable Travel International the organisation is using the system to collect data and establish a baseline assessment of its performance across key sustainable tourism indicators. Areas reviewed included purchasing practices, guest education, waste and recycling, water consumption, energy use, business travel, and carbon emissions. Further information:


Day of Parks     

Launched in 1999 by the EUROPARC Federation, the European Day of Parks celebrates protected areas, biodiversity and the people who feel passion about nature and their park. Visitors and tourists are invited to participate on 24 May 2013 for the European Day of Parks.

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National Tourism & Events Excellence Conference- Speakers


The 2013 National Tourism and Events Excellence Conference will be held 22 - 23 July 2013 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria.The Conference promotes the continuous development of a profitable, sustainable, innovative and professional tourism and events industry. The program showcases Australia’s leadership in Tourism and Events, whilst also promoting best practice across a range of industry sectors.

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Regions: unleashing their mojo in an interconnected world

The real game in regional development into the future is in creating globalised virtually connected regions. Technology has the potential to provide access to new markets, suppliers, capacity for wide scope and scale of businesses, new staffing models as well as whole new businesses.    It also raises uncertainty regarding future markets, increased competitors, changing business ownership, and more interconnected and complex supply chains. To achieve maximum benefits, regions will need to understand the opportunities and risks and strategies to approach these.  
Embracing  change requires a confidence and optimism for the future.  Running parallel to globalisation is an emerging sense of localisation.  As the world becomes more accessible it is important that people also feel a sense of connection to place.
Distance isn’t a limitation in a digitally connected world. Time zone difference across the globe open new opportunities.  Coffs can be as connected as California,  Longreach can be as connected as London.  Digital connection opens up huge opportunities across all sectors. 
SEGRA 2013 will focus on the dual issues of a accessing global opportunities in regional Australia and local engagement of communities as a strategy to drive regional economic development.   Key elements include building regions that are passionate, driven and fighting for their regional vision.  In Coffs Harbour they call it unleashing their mojo.  Key elements include creating a region that is vital, optimistic, creative and future driven through active strategies of co-creativity.
SEGRA will be a great opportunity to hear from nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers   on issues of regional development in Australia.
Already confirmed is:
Peter Kageyama, Internationally acclaimed author of For the Love of Cities will be presenting online from California on what makes cities lovable, what motivates citizens to do extraordinary things for their places and how some cities use that energy to fill in the gaps that “official” city makers have left when resources disappear.
Insert photo of Peter

Themes and action agendas:
The SEGRA national steering committee is now calling for papers that demonstrate successful regional development strategies around the following themes and action agendas:

  • Developing and valuing close local and regional communities
  • Valuing place – loving your city, loving your region
  • Making the most of human and social capital through co-creativity and learning communities
  • New technology and industry development in regional Australia
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Regional policy agenda in Australia for the next 10 years
  • Global positioning and stewardship of local assets
  • Optimising regional character and authenticity in a digital world
  • Enterprise facilitation – collaboration and commercialisation
  • Investment attraction
  • Smart  small business strategies
  • Capturing  added value from infrastructure
Offered papers need to be submitted on line at by   15 June 2013
For more information, or to receive regular updates please email