Own our House

The Sydney Opera House has launched a unique grassroots fundraising campaign that gives people in Australia and around the world the opportunity to show their support for the Opera House by buying a virtual tile on the tallest sail. Funds from the ‘Own Our House’ campaign will also be used to increase public access to the Opera House through more free events, digital innovation and new education initiatives.

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


WTTC Announces Judges for 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the judges for its prestigious 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

Tony Charters is one of the finalist judges and has been part of the international team of the independent judging panel for 10 years since the WTTC began hosting the awards.

The Awards recognise the very best in sustainable tourism worldwide. In their 10th year under WTTC stewardship, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have been expanded 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 recognise the areas of human resources and innovation.

The Awards are among the most coveted in the Travel & Tourism industry, each year recognising the most innovative businesses and destinations in sustainable tourism best practices. The selection of finalists and winners includes a rigorous three-step judging process culminating in an on-site expert field evaluation of all finalists to document best practices in action.

To find out more, Click Here to read the full article


Finalists Announced for the WTTC 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled the 18 finalists for its 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry, recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide.

174 Award applications were received this year from 56 countries, representing all continents. Finalists in six categories were selected, ranging from local destinations to global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges. 

Winners and finalists will be recognised during a Gala evening at WTTC’s annual Global Summit, to be held in Hainan, China, on 24 April 2014.

To find out more about the finalists, Click Here to read the full article

Kenya Risks Losing Tourists to Tanzania

By Mary Mwendwa

Increased park entry fees aimed to fund an increased presence of the Kenya Wildlife Service in parks, game reserves and other protected areas may result in the loss of tourists to neighboring Tanzania, which has lower park entry fees than Kenya.

In a statement released to the media, Kenya Wildlife Service confirmed the new rates which it says is a result of the (VAT) Value Added Tax, imposed on tourism activities.

“We cannot afford these high fees for park entry, we are poor Kenyans, in fact we should be allowed to enter the parks free, to promote more local tourists”; Alice Kahendi, a mother complained.

Judy Kepha, a tourism expert, views this move as a threat to Kenya as a destination; “The increase in park and other protected areas fees will have impacts on local and international tourists. First it will perpetrate the exclusion of citizens from wildlife tourism, most Kenyans will not afford the new rates. For international tourists, it will make Kenya an expensive tourism destination.” She however adds, there are other ways to increase tourism revenues which don’t have to necessarily be generated by increasing park fees.

Local tourists going to wilderness parks like Tsavo east and west will pay 600ksh, up from 500 ksh, and those visiting national parks like Nakuru, Amboseli and Meru will pay 1200 ksh, up from 1000.

Non residents who used to pay US$80 for national parks will now pay 16% more, and the same for wilderness areas where they used to pay US$65. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, which borders Kenya charges US$50 for non-residents for example, a move that many hoteliers in Kenya fear will result in a loss of tourists to these destinations.

Kenya boasts of some of the best tourist destinations in the region with tourism leading as a source of foreign exchange earnings after coffee and tea.



An innovative photo competition run by Grampians Tourism has attracted over 3,000 images, generated 222,400 Likes and has reached over 5 million active Instagram users. The Instagrampians social media campaign encouraged visitors and locals to post photos to share their experiences in the Grampians on Instagram over a three-month period.

Five Million Fans

Tourism Australia's Facebook page has hit five million fans worldwide - confirming its status as the most popular tourism destination page on the planet. As well as the largest destination page on Facebook, Tourism Australia also boasts the most followed destination on Google+ and Instagram, with nearly 300,000 followers on the photo sharing site and over 400,000 photos submitted to Tourism Australia's unique #seeaustralia hashtag.

Further information: https://www.facebook.com/SeeAustralia







Floating City

The Freedom Ship will be a 25-storey floating city accommodating with approximately 50,000 permanent residents complete with shops, restaurants, hospitals, schools, an airport and other amenities. Originally the vision of Florida engineer Norman Nixon, construction of the vessel is yet to commence and Freedom Ship International is attempting to raise the US$10.7 billion needed to make the dream a reality.

Further information: http://www.freedomship.com/

Luggage Mule


A luggage collection and delivery service has recently been launched which aims to transport suitcases and other luggage to popular holiday destinations at a cheaper cost than the passenger would pay to put in the hold.

Further information: http://www.luggagemule.co.uk/


Hello World

The Jetset Travelworld Group's newly unveiled helloworld concept model will be rolled out as fully branded stores, associate memberships and affiliate network participants. The brand’s growing network of more than 200 retail outlets will provide Australian travellers with 24/7 access to a wide range of online booking options combined with expertise and support of a full service agency. The company has also forged agreements for an additional 350 locations to join its budding network and will function through the use of Orbitz Worldwide technology.

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


Penguin Jumpers

AAT Kings is teaming up with Spotlight Australia and TreadRight partner Phillip Island Nature Park to launch the new 'Knit to Win' promotion. The nation's knitters are being urged to help support the rare colony of Little Penguins on Victoria's Phillip Island by knitting a life-saving little jumper for these pint-sized creatures. These jumpers will be sent to Phillip Island's Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre where they will be used to protect injured Little Penguins helping to keep them warm and prevent them from preening and swallowing toxic oils. Entries close Friday, 31 January 2014.

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

Tourism Sustainability Cartoon

A new animated film has been launched by the Travel Foundation to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The film has been created as a reminder to why sustainable business practice matters in today's highly competitive business environment. The film is intended to introduce what sustainability means for those who have yet to take the first steps and the charity will use the film to engage more companies in their work.

Further information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFbbKbdqoJg&list=

Huma Charity Challenge

Leading Australian adventure travel company, World Expeditions has launched a dedicated charity division Huma (pronounced Hooma) Charity Challenge. World Expeditions has been involved with fundraising through travel since the concept emerged in the late 1990’s and has successfully organised more than 500 adventures for charitable causes which has raised more than $1 million in combined funds. Participants can choose to join an existing Charity Challenge arranged or an Open Challenge from any of the 900 adventure holidays and fundraise for their chosen charity.

Further information: http://www.humacharitychallenge.com/




Bike Butler


The Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver is launching a Bike Butler service, giving cyclists help in exploring the local surroundings after noting the number of travellers arriving at the hotel with their own bikes or wanting to know where they could hire one. A stock of bicycles are now available free of charge to explore the city and the hotel’s resident bike concierge offers accessories such as helmets, locks, water bottles, maps and recommendations.

Further information: http://www.fairmont.com/pacific-rim-vancouver/press-room/bike-butler-tea-sommelier-fish-valet/

This City My Way Scheme


Marriott Australia has introduced This City My Way scheme, a teen concierge program that uses social networks such as Instagram and Kik to guide young adults around the city they’re visiting. The initiative was created to provide information to those young travellers who are much more likely to head online to see what their peers are saying about the destination. Teen concierges have been appointed for each of the brand’s hotels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Each concierge updates their blogs and Instagram feed with photos of activities, restaurants and sightseeing opportunities they enjoy in their area, as well as competitions.

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

Atura Hotels

Amalgamated Holding Limited the same group behind the innovative QT Hotels and Resorts, Art Series Hotels, Rydges Hotels, Event Cinemas and Moonlight Cinemas is launching a new concept hotel brand in Australia. Atura Hotels will be located in fringe city CBD suburbs and business parks over the next three years. The new brand will have a strong emphasis on supporting business travellers including Wi-Fi throughout the entire hotel and a high-tech business centre.

Further information: http://www.aturablacktown.com.au/about-atura/


Engagement with Asia Resources

Tourism Research Australia in consultation with the Tourism Australia and Australian Tourism Export Council has developed a suite of online resources to help Australian tourism operators better engage with Asia. The tools include advice on distribution channels, cultural awareness, marketing, action plans and case studies to capitalise on the economic potential of the five key markets of China, India, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.

Further information: http://www.tra.gov.au/asiafocus/Engaging-with-Asia.html




Tourism Fiji Spread Happiness

Tourism Fiji has revealed its new advertising campaign, as part of the bureau's new strategic direction to showcase the unique diversity of the Pacific island nation. The new commercials that have been produced feature themes that characterise and exemplify Fiji’s distinctive flavour and warm, openhearted spirit and culture. The ads reflect consumer insight and research that identified Fiji as the ‘Happiest Place in the World’.

Further information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdLGZQnhLRs



Safari Tour

Expressions of interest are open for qualified individuals and organisations to operate a safari tour incorporating a boat tour on Yardie Creek in Cape Range National Park in Western Australia. Submissions close 28 January 2014.

Further information: http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/for-business/commercial-opportunities


Small Bar Tour

A new walking tour is delving into Sydney's emerging small bar scene and taking locals on an exploration of hidden venues scattered through the Central Business District to get locals engaged with the small bars flourishing in traditionally underutilised spaces like laneways and basements. Established in Perth, Two Feet has been conducting popular guided walking tours since 2007 and has been recognised as leaders in Heritage and Cultural Tourism.

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



Child Safe Tourism

According to a new report issued by Project Childhood Prevention Pillar, travellers to South East Asia want the tourism industry to take more action to protect children from exploitation. The Child Safe Traveller report polled almost 270 travellers from 39 different countries and three quarters were aware that children experience abuse or exploitation in connection with travel and tourism. The study also found that information about child safe tourism had a direct positive influence on the decisions tourists made.

Further information: http://www.childsafetourism.org




Vacation's Impact on the Workplace


Employees who use available vacation time gain a leg up in the workplace, according to a new survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management, the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management with more than 250,000 members in 140 countries. New research indicates that employee vacation is critical to the success of high-performing organisations with employees who take time off to recharge increasing productivity and performance. The research was conducted between August and September 2013 on 481 randomly selected US based HR professionals.

Further information: http://www.slideshare.net/shrm/shrm-us-travelvacationbenefitsworkplaceimpact

Adventure Tourism Market Strategy

The adventure travel market has grown at 65% annually since 2009 according to a new consumer report by The George Washington University conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association. The 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study is a barometer for the size and characteristics of the adventure tourism market which is increasingly being recognised for attracting environmentally and culturally aware consumers and for its focus on responsible and sustainable development in rural and remote communities worldwide.

Further information: http://files.adventuretravel.biz/docs/research/adventure-tourism-market-study-2013-web.pdf


Regional Tourism Strategy

Victoria has launched a Regional Tourism Strategy to help stimulate tourism and events in regional areas from 2013-2016. Tourism Victoria will implement the strategy in partnership with Regional Tourism Boards, local government, industry and other stakeholders. The strategy will also focus on encouraging Victorians to travel within the state, an increased emphasis on digital marketing and highlights the need to work with Regional Tourism Boards to increase visitor numbers.

Further information: http://www.tourism.vic.gov.au/about/strategies-and-publications.html


Consumer Law Guide for Tourism

A new guide developed by national, state and territory consumer protection agencies aims to help travel and accommodation businesses clarify their rights and obligations under Australian consumer law. Travel and accommodation: An industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law covers key aspects of the law such as contract terms, deposits and refunds. The guide focuses on issues where industry bodies have asked for more detailed guidance for business and where consumers frequently report problems to consumer protection agencies.

Further information: http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/aclresource

Golf Tourism

Tourism New Zealand plans to invest up-to two million dollars over three years as part of marketing the countries distinctive golf offering to potential visitors. The investment is one outcome of the Golf Tourism Strategy commissioned by Tourism New Zealand that has identified markets that should be targeted including Australia, North America and China. It also recommends the establishment of North and South Island Golf Trails and proposes the establishment of an industry advisory group that will explore alternative funding streams and support from the golf sector.

Further information: http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/tourism-news-and-insights/media-releases/latest-releases/2013/08/new-zealand-golf-distinctive-but-undiscovered-says-tourism-working-group/


Huangshan Dialogue - 26 - 30 May 2014

The first ever Huangshan Dialogue will take place from 26 to 30 of May 2014 at Huangshan, China. The International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) will be holding this international symposium to create a forum for experts and practitioners to share experiences and lessons in the conservation and management of world heritage sites, world biosphere reserves and global geoparks.

The Dialogue aims to improve knowledge of practical achievements of the use of space technologies for the benefits of UNESCO designated places. Outcomes and recommendations of the symposium will be brought to the attention of important UNESCO and other international forums. The Huangshan Dialogue will be the first symposium ever for simultaneously addressing the relationship of all three UNESCO designated places and their contributions to sustainable development.

Further information: http://huangshandialogue.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1



Visit Malaysia 2014 Campaign

Malaysia has launched its Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign and hopes to attract 28 million tourists in 2014. With the new KLIA2 airport now due for opening in May 2014 the capacity constraints into KL will be removed. KLIA2 will have capacity for 45million passengers a year and has 60 gates and 80 aerobridges. 

Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Dato Mirza Mohammad Taiyib,  speaking at the the 2014 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Kuching said the  lack of airport capacity at Kuala Lumpur had contributed to Malaysia's diminished tourism growth in 2013. He said the existing low cost/budget  terminal was operating at 120% of capacity. 

Tourism Malaysia is focusing on 5 major segments as it strives to continue growth the industry and improve tourism yields: Affordable luxury; Nature/Adventure; Family fun; Events, Entertainment, Spa and sports; Business /MICE.

Further information: http://www.vmy2014.com/




ASEAN Tourism Forum 2014

The 2014 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), was held in Sarawak, Malaysia from 16 to 23 January.

ATF aims to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as one tourist destination where Asian hospitality and cultural diversity are at its best. Besides this, ATF promotes the exchange of ideas, review of industry developments and joint formulation of recommendations to further accelerate the growth of ASEAN tourism. .

Adopting the theme, ASEAN - Advancing Tourism Together, the 2014 ATF deliberated and explored the sustainable development of tourism and looked at how various tourism intiatives and plans can further support the mantra of Tourism Conserves, Preserves and Protects.

Tony Charters attended the Forum as the Editor of Tourforce and will be providing updates in the next edition and also directly to our new Tourforce Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/tourforce/