Bizarre Food Festivals

Online travel experts, Cheapflights, have discovered some of the world's more bizarre food festivals devoted to unconventional uses of tomatoes, oranges and melons as well as celebrations cooking road kill, bugs and body parts. Crazy food festivals in the Top 10 include Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, Battle of the Oranges in Italy; Waikiki Spam Jam in Hawaii and the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival in Florida.

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Instagram Hotel

Located in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, the World's First Instagram Hotel is offering dedicated facilities for photographers and smartphone users including a walking map with recommended photo opportunities, a room designed to help guests take interesting selfies and a reception area that displays images from local and relevant hashtag feeds. Additionally, those who can prove they have more than 10,000 followers on the photo-sharing platform will be able to stay free for one night and also the guest who takes the best Instagram shot each month until December 2014. Fresh from a $30 million renovation, the 1888 Hotel is a converted wool shed featuring bespoke design elements and a restaurant serving artisan produce.

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Smart Layover

A new App is turning delays at airports into a mini holiday by helping passengers waiting between flights to take advantage of nearby attractions and facilities. It enables users to simply enter in the details of the airport, date and duration of their layover then offers suggestions of things to do and see in the vicinity. The database features up-to-date information about day-use hotels, nearby attractions, events, food and drink and deals and discounts in over 140 different cities.

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Remote Control Tourist

Tourism Victoria has unveiled the latest innovative stage of their Play Melbourne campaign - Melbourne Remote Control Tourist. This world-first tourism initiative will utilise social media, camera technology and state-of-the-art interactivity until June 2014. It is designed to engage with consumers by providing an opportunity to explore the depths of Melbourne’s experiences before they visit, live and in real-time.

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Do You Speak Touriste

The Paris Regional Tourism Council has launched a new program called Do You Speak Touriste which offers business owners advice on how to communicate with visitors from different countries. Designed for restaurateurs, hoteliers, taxi drivers and other commercial business owners in the city, the online guide identifies some of the common terms in each industry and offers translations in 10 different languages, as well as identifies some of the common traits of each nationality.

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Seat-to-Seat Delivery

Virgin America has introduced Seat-to-Seat Delivery, a service that lets passengers send a free drink or snack to any other seat. Customers can use their in-flight entertainment system to view the menu and select the drink, meal or snack they want to send. They can then see a plan of the aircraft and choose the seat of the person they want to treat. Users have the option to add a message or initiate a conversation using Red’s Seat-to-Seat Chat function.

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Empty Seat Option

Indian airline, SpiceJet, now allows customers to book the seat next to them for a nominal fee when their flight hasn’t reached capacity. As part of the airline’s FlexiFly program, which also offers features such as rewards for flexible booking, flying customers can take advantage of the Empty Seat Option. During the booking process, passengers travelling alone can choose to reserve the seat next to them, or even the entire row of three seats for a percentage of the cost of a filled seat.

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Hobart Female Factory

The Cascades Female Factory is one of 11 sites that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property and has been made more accessible with the opening of new conservation and interpretation works in South Hobart. The $750,000 project has improved the visitor experiences at the World Heritage listed site which once housed over 1000 people. Visitors will be able to explore the stories of convict women through interpretation media including a solitary cell, illustrated signage, light boxes offering views of long-vanished buildings and uses of the site during and after its years as a women’s prison.

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Going It Alone


A new survey created by social media collective, #WeGoSolo, and budget accommodation specialists, HostelBookers, shows that despite recent negative media attention, women still love to travel alone. Findings from the 'Going It Alone' survey show women balance their desire for freedom and adventure with a healthy sense of caution. More than 1,000 women responded to the June 2013 survey which revealed that Europe, South America, USA, and Oceania were the most desired countries for solo travel while women were least likely to travel solo to the Middle East, Africa, and China.

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Trip Advisor Insights


Leading travel website TripAdvisor has launched a new online marketing resource designed to inform and assist the travel industry. TripAdvisor Insights is a new web portal that features news, tips, travel trends, best practice marketing strategies, case studies, industry research and statistics on a daily basis. The content will be available in a number of languages and formats including webinars, videos, blogs and printed materials.

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Kinship Economy Report

The IHG Kinship economy report has revealed that new forms of relation travel are changing the way traditional accommodation operators do business, incorporating non-tourism elements. The report said that business and leisure travellers have and will begin carrying high-tech devices and accessories radically manipulating the way in which people search and book accommodation.

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Super-Growth Industry


A new Deloitte report has highlighted the key role tourism can play in Australia’s future economic growth. The report 'Building the Lucky Country Series, Positioning for Prosperity? Catching the next wave' has identified tourism as one of five ‘super-growth’ industry sectors which will help drive Australia’s prosperity over the next two decades.

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Sustainable Water Report


The International Tourism Partnership has published a report on water risk issues in key development areas for the hotel industry including Rio de Janeiro, Beijing and Shanghai, India's Golden Triangle and Dubai. The study was conducted by the Stockholm International Water Institute and highlights a range of potential impacts and cost the industry could suffer due to shifts in the availability and quality of water resources. It also suggests possible mitigation measures that can be taken to reduce negative impacts.

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Tourism 2020 Website


An easy to use tool that provides access to key Tourism 2020 and other related initiatives and programs.  In one convenient location you can now see how Tourism 2020 can assist your region and your businesses.

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Cultural Tourism Guide

The Victorian Government has launched the latest edition of Victorian Cultural Tourism Guide that showcases Victoria’s world-class arts and cultural institutions and calendar of events for visitors planning their stay in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The guide was produced by Cultural Tourism Victoria, in partnership with the Victorian Tourism Industry Council and supported by Tourism Victoria and Arts Victoria. It is available at Victorian Accredited Visitor Information Centres as well as specifically targeted outlets across Australia and overseas.

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Tourism 2025

The New Zealand Tourism 2025 was launched at the recent Zealand Tourism Industry Association Summit in Wellington. The plan was created by the industry to provide targets and direction for the tourism industry through to 2025. It’s objective is to generate substantively higher growth with a focus on value, increased private sector investment, improved sector productivity and public sector support, all underpinning a world-class visitor experience.

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Ethical Travel Guide

A new website being developed by Tourism Concern will combine campaigns, research, library resources, the Ethical Travel Guide, Ethical Tour Operators Group and Ethical Volunteering Group into one easily accessible resource that can be accessed on a country by country basis via an interactive map. The site will also promote local non Government organisations and partners in each country and local initiatives supported by tourism.

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Recycling Bottle Banks


Frankfurt Airport has set up recycling banks for liquid filled cans and bottles relinquished at security checks, giving customers the additional option to send money to the charity of their choice. Users simply place the items into the bottle return machines where they are later collected, emptied of their contents and then sold on to recycling companies. The machines also offer a monetary sum for each bottle deposit in the form of a donation to Worldwide Wildlife Fund, Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen, Frankfurter Tafel or Franziskustreff.

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Accessible View

The Accessibility View project aims to use Google Maps and Street View to help disabled people find the most accessible routes through São Paulo, Brazil. The project aims to help remedy the varying conditions sidewalks have with bumps, holes and other obstacles often making it difficult for the physically disabled to navigate through the city. The app offers the equivalent of Google Street View for disabled users including photographic views from a wheelchair perspective.

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Birds of Prey: A Key Component in Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism
By Mary Mwendwa

Birds have been integral to humans since prehistory. Perhaps the most famous environmental pollinator. Their eggs have been an important human food source since humans evolved. However, in recent decades, human activities and settlements have brought unprecedented change to their habitats.

One of the greatest challenges to Kenya’s rich wildlife heritage is that concentrations of high biodiversity often overlap with the places where people prefer to live as well.

Raptors (birds of prey) are known to be 'ecological barometers,' which simply means they help us gauge how healthy a habitat is. Birds of prey are extremely sensitive to many environmental changes in an ecosystem. They can even sense chemical and pollutant levels that can give people an early warning of any impending airborne threats. Raptor populations face threats due to birds ingesting prey riddled with toxins, which in turn signals scientists that a possible problem exists.

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Airport Carbon Accreditation

The Airports Council International has released an update on its voluntary climate change initiative, the Airport Carbon Accreditation. The program began in 2009 and has expanded beyond its initial European focus to include airports in the Asia-Pacific region, the Gulf and Africa. It has helped frame and support the collective work that airports are doing to make their operations more carbon efficient and their business more sustainable.

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Global Eco 2013 – last week to REGISTER!

With only one week until the official opening of Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference 2013, the keynote program and Concurrent Megatrend Streams are brimming with world-class speakers and ‘Opinion Leaders’. A special feature will be a presentation by Charlotte Prouse, Director, of the Sydney-based marketing firm, The Leap Agency, on marketing the National Landscapes as part of the ‘Great Expectations’ stream and Bruce Leaver, Chairman, Sapphire Coast Tourism, presentation on our iconic assets as part of National Landscapes under the ‘Natural Advantages’ stream.

National Landscapes is a partnership program between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia to identify and promote Australia’s most exceptional natural and cultural experiences to the international tourism audience. It is particularly relevant to ecotourism and responsible tourism discussions.

Both Charlotte and Bruce exemplify the broad range of experts gathering at Noosa, from 18-20 November, with day 3 of Global Eco 2013 featuring specialised Half-Day Forums including: Strategic Partnerships, Indigenous and Cultural Tourism; Marketing in the 21st Century; Tourism in Protected Areas; Operators’ Marketplace; and Geotourism.

Register NOW to ensure your place at this internationally recognised conference:


Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference

The Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference will be held from 4 to 9 April 2014 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The conference aims to promote awareness, enhance and protect the increasingly important role of Asia Pacific's Indigenous peoples such as hill tribes, forest dwellers, sea faring groups and Aboriginal people in tourism. It will discuss the issues, challenges and solutions on how to best preserve Indigenous heritage and culture as part of the complete visitor economy.

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Planet People Peace / Planeta Personas Paz
Sustainable Tourism International Conference, Costa Rica 2013

An enormously successful P3 International Conference on Sustainable Tourism was staged  in Costa Rica last week. The Planet, People, Peace Conference was held in San Jose with 200+ delegates.  The conference was organised by Costa Rica’s National Ecotourism and Sustainable Chamber (CANAECO) – the third since 2009. The event brought together about 30 international keynote speakers to explore sustainable tourism applications.  Tony Charters spoke on Australia’s Country Brand and its links to sustainability.

CANAECO outgoing President, Glenn Jampol,  has organised all three P3 events in Costa Rica, an event he decided to develop after being inspired by Australia’s  Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference in 2008. The conference featured amazing cultural elements from Costa Rica and a special guest presentation by John Densmore – the drummer from the famous late 60’s and early 70’s group, The Doors.

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WTTC Announces Call for Entries for 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The world’s leading sustainable tourism awards, The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, have been updated and revised, with two new categories added in time for the call for entries, now open for 2014.

In their 10th year under WTTC stewardship, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, have been changed to reflect the broadening scope of WTTC’s sustainability agenda. There are now six award categories, with the addition of two entirely new awards to recognize the areas of human resources and innovation. The six categories are:

• Business Award
• Community Award 
• Destination Award 
• Environment Award 
• Innovation Award (new award)
• People Award (new award)

There will be no change to the judging process which has made the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards the gold-standard of sustainable tourism awards: an Independent Chairman of Judges, a rigorous three-step judging process involving up to 22 independent expert judges from all around the world, and on-site evaluations of all award finalists.

Award applicants may enter in one of six Award categories and can download an application from until 02 December 2013.

Finalists and winners receive complimentary flights and accommodation and will be recognised during a gala Awards ceremony which takes place alongside WTTC’s Global Summit in Hainan, China, 24-25 April 2014, attended by Travel & Tourism industry leaders, government representatives and members of the international media.

Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges, stated: "A tremendous amount of work goes into the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards each year. These Awards are truly global in nature, with a team of nearly two dozen judges hailing from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe."

Tony Charters has served on the judging panel since 2004.

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Looking for an Ecotourism Manager!

The Conservation Ecology Centre is an award winning non-profit organisation based on the Great Ocean Road. Their mission is to inspire confidence in the future through effective, innovative and engaging conservation of wildlife and the ecosystems on which they depend. Ecotourism plays an integral role in delivering this mission, and the Great Ocean Ecolodge provides a very special avenue for engagement while, at the same time, generating funds to support our work.

The organisation is growing rapidly and are expanding the team by engaging an Ecotourism Manager. This is a senior role with associated responsibilities and benefits and a chance to be part of a very exciting organisation with opportunities for the role to grow and develop.

For more details, please contact: