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.

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


Welcome to Tourforce Edition 7

Global Market Competitive Edge

I am currently conducting verification inspections and reports of two of the finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards on behalf of the World Tourism and Travel Council (Serena Hotels, operating primarily in East Africa, and Six Senses, operating in South-east Asia and Indo-Pacific region). Judging and selecting the finalists from an impressive array of international tourism enterprises demonstrates how much Australia now operates in a global market. Finalists from around the globe are in contention for the prestigious Awards. Affordable and efficient flight options have opened up a huge array of new and exotic tourism products and destinations.  Many of the nominations I reviewed exhibited business practices at the cutting edge of sustainability, product development and consumer focus. This process has left me in no doubt about the stiff competition Australia faces in the global tourism market.

Australia has long held a pre-eminent position with its nature and eco tourism products – its quality, diversity and sustainability.  However the rest of the world is catching up. Clever design, clever engineering, great service and unique heritage values do not have international boundaries. Australia faces stiff competition based on distance and costs to operate (in particular labour rates compared to developing countries offering comparative products). For Australians choosing an exotic holiday overseas there is a wealth of choice and experiences at very competitive prices. Clearly Australia represents an exotic option for potential travellers from other parts of the world. Unique wildlife, nature and culture; quality products; quality service; safe travel; high standards of hygiene; a great climate; and an English speaking population.

So what are Australia’s key competitive advantages and how do we develop and promote them? How do we position Australia to optimise the value of our competitive advantages? These are two of the key areas of discussion at Tourism Futures National Conference which I am convening on behalf of Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia in June. 

If you would like to offer a paper for presentation in the specialised workshops and forums please go to the conference website and submit an abstract.

.Tony Charters

Best Practice
International Year of the Reef

The International Year of the Reef 2008 aims to raise awareness about coral reefs and the threats facing these vibrant ecosystems. Project AWARE is working with international governments, environmental and educational organisations to support initiatives that increase awareness about the value of coral reefs and reef ecosystems.

Further information:

International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations

The second International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations is scheduled for 21-24 March 2008 in Kerala, India. The Conference organised by Kerala Tourism and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (India) will provide an opportunity to discuss what has been achieved since the Cape Town Declaration and how to move the agenda forward.

Further information:

BBC Correspondent Nick Bryant Secured for Tourism Futures
BBC South Asia correspondent Nick Bryant will moderate discussions by top tourism industry leaders at the Tourism Futures National Conference 2008 held from 2-4 June.

Mr Bryant will identify key issues brought forward by leaders and direct discussions to the topics of most relevance to the industry in order to achieve a practical action agenda.

"We are delighted to have secured Nick Bryant as our Industry Leaders’ Moderator" declared Conference Convenor Tony Charters.

Mr Bryant’s extensive international reporting experience for BBC includes the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin; the signing of the Good Friday Agreement; the impeachment of Bill Clinton; the disputed 2000 presidential election; the Washington sniper killings; the attacks of September 11 and their aftermath; the SARS outbreak in Canada; the Bam earthquake; Afghanistan's first presidential election; the Asian Tsunami; the Pakistan earthquake; the slide towards civil war in Sri Lanka and the Nepal's 'Ringroad Revolution.'

This experience in combination with his background writing for the Independent and Daily Mail provide a strong base to springboard discussion and direct the issues of pressing importance to the Tourism Industry.

The Tourism Futures National Conference will be staged from 2-4 June at the Crowne Plaza Royal Pines Golf Resort and Spa, the Gold Coast.

The conference, themed ‘Global Market, Competitive Edge’, is an opportunity for delegates to obtain a global perspective on and discuss the ways and means of achieving and maintaining a competitive edge in an increasingly globalised and homogenised world.

Amongst those attending the conference will be CEOs, tourism operators, industry representatives, policy makers, academics and researchers from throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Registration and Call for Papers are now open.

Further information:


Green Globe Gold Certification for Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has received the prestigious Green Globe Gold Certification. Only 18 groups in the world have achieved this and Skyrail is the only one in Australia. Green Globe Gold is awarded to companies who have achieved Green Globe Certification for five consecutive years, demonstrating outstanding, continuous commitment to environmental performance and improvement. Green Globe is the worldwide Benchmarking, Certification and improvement system assisting the international travel and tourism industry to attain and maintain sustainability.

Further information:

Fostering Innovation and Sustainability in Tourism

The latest Tourism Excellence modules, Fostering Innovation and Sustainability in Tourism, were launched by Tourism Victoria prior to Christmas. Industry Participation, the final module in the Tourism Excellence program, will be launched in March 2008.

Further information:

Licensing Nature Tourism Operators in Western Australia

This study reviews the current nature tourism licensing framework in Western Australia to determine whether it creates impediments to tour operator businesses. Interviews with licensing agency representatives and a literature review highlighted licensing compliance costs as the main complaint from nature tour operators including the need for licenses from multiple agencies, license security and non-transferability of some licence types.

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The ABC of Carbon

If you have been struggling to get your head around the issues associated with climate change or you crave more information then The ABC of Carbon by Ken Hickson is a clever alphabetical approach to climate change and its consequences.

Further information:

Australia Top Country Brand

According to the Country Brand Index (CBI) Australia is the world’s top country brand, with the United States ranking second and the United Kingdom third. The CBI is a comprehensive study of more than 2,600 international travellers conducted by FutureBrand, a leading global brand consultancy which examines how countries are branded and ranked according to key criteria.

Further information:

Green Travel Website

Ecoescape a UK directory of places to stay and visit has launched a new website to accompany the green travel guide. The website hosted on 100% renewable energy features travel news, product reviews and supplier profiles. Many of the businesses featured in the directory source local, organic and fair-trade products while others generate their own energy through solar-panelling, watermills and wind turbines. Listings are subject to review before appearing on the website and an open guestbook allows for visitor feedback and ratings to ensure all experiences are truly green and safe for the environment.

Further information:

National Climate Change Certification Scheme

Tony Charters and Associates has recently won the contract to develop a national climate change certification scheme for the tourism industry. This demonstrates continued leadership and expertise in providing cutting edge sustainability services and providing innovative solutions to critical issues facing the tourism industry.

The project comprises the development of a national Climate Change certification scheme which will assist and provide an incentive for individual businesses to take immediate action to cut greenhouse emissions. The Scheme will be applicable to both tourism operators and to organisations that service the tourism industry – such as regional tourism organisations, travel agencies and consultancies.

The Scheme to be developed will aim to:
• improve awareness and understanding of climate change impacts on the tourism industry, environment and community;
• increase awareness of industry resources and best practices;
• identify areas of business operations that contribute to greenhouse emissions;
• identify where and how to take action to reduce emissions; and
• promote and communicate best practices to visitors.

Aside from assisting individual businesses, the scheme will also provide a national benchmarking process through which current greenhouse performance in the industry can be assessed and improvements monitored. It is also hoped that the Scheme will provide a model that offers both encouragement and insight for other industries to take rapid and meaningful action on emissions reduction.

Grants & Funding
Minor Tourism Infrastructure Grants

Local governments, tourism organisations and businesses in Queensland can apply for State Government funding to improve roadside facilities and amenities on North-West highways. Applications are open for the Minor Tourism Infrastructure Grants program, with individual grants of up to $30,000 available for improvements such as signage, upgrading roadside toilets and picnic tables. Applications close 3pm Friday 29 February 2008.

Further information:

British Airways Goes Green


British Airways (BA) has unveiled a new carbon offset scheme that uses UN certified emissions reductions to help finance clean energy projects in developing countries such as a wind farm in China and hydro electric plant in Brazil. The user-friendly scheme allows customers to buy their offset in one transaction when they book their flight online. In addition to the offset scheme, BA will invest in a range of projects to help protect the Brazilian rainforest and improve understanding of the non-CO2 effects of aviation by 2012.

Further information:

Environmentally Conscious Rail Travel

Rail travel may undergo a revival in the near future with concerns growing over climate change and emissions from aeroplanes. According to Queensland Rail Traveltrain Holidays transport accounts for 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and of that just 2.2 percent is attributable to rail travel, the lowest of all transport modes.

Queensland Rail has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by voluntarily signing the Australian Greenhouse Challenge Plus agreement. Since joining this agreement, cumulative saving over the past seven years has been over 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Further information:

Product Development
Hollybank Treetops Adventure

The Hollybank Treetops Adventure is a new tourism joint venture between Australian Canopy Tours and Forestry Tasmania. The $850,000 project takes thrill-seekers on a 730m elevated tour in the longest continuous treetop cable ride in Australia. Participants are strapped into harnesses clipped to cables 50m above the ground, stopping at seven special platforms known as ‘cloud stations’ along the way. Forestry Tasmania is also considering establishing an international mountain bike park at Hollybank with upgraded walking trails, signage, car parking, toilets, picnic facilities and a café.

Further information:

Green Wine

An innovative Australian export winery is using Swedish packaging technology to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and tap into the green consumerism sweeping Europe. Invented by Tetra Pak, the same company that revolutionised the fruit juice market, tetraprisma is a multi-layer carton with a screw cap and minimum shelf life of two years. The lower carbon footprint gained through weight savings and the reduced embedded energy accumulated by transporting his wine half way round the world is also what makes the new technology a real winner.

Further information:'ll-drink-to-that.-902147111.html

Stamford Hotels and Resorts Go Green

The Stamford Hotels and Resorts Go Green strategy is being implemented in properties throughout Australia and New Zealand to reduce their energy and water usage, while improving facilities for guests.

All guests who reuse their towels or choose not to have their room serviced receive a voucher for a 20 per cent discount on food when they eat at the hotel restaurant. Stamford Hotels and Resorts are committed to the ongoing reduction of energy usage within all of their properties, and will continue to look at innovative ways to minimise their environmental impact.

Further information:

Awaroa Lodge Awarded International Grant

Australian wine company Banrock Station has awarded Awaroa Lodge an international grant for its contribution to restoring local wetlands. Since 2002, the Awaroa Lodge Wetland Enhancement Program has been managing the restoration of the neighbouring wetlands, developing a sanctuary environment for improving the eco-system and biodiversity of native fish and birds all with the support of the Department of Conservation and Local Council. Other sustainable aspects of the lodge include low-impact waste management systems, design and construction and recyclable products.

Further information:

Tony Charters and Associates