Pro Packing

A man who became famous for a Youtube video on how to fold a shirt in two seconds has been hired by Holiday Inn Express. David Haxworth has been appointed as the hotel chain's first efficiency engineer and his first task has been to revolutionise the suit packing process after research found that almost half of Brits are stressed out by creased clothing whilst a quarter consistently forget their toothbrush. His short film which shares simple tricks for packing like a pro will be provided to all Holiday Inn Express guests on receiving their booking confirmation.

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Kenyan Tourism Company Recognised for Excellence

By Mary Mwendwa

Basecamp Explorer Kenya, has been selected as one of the three finalists for the 2014, Tourism For Tomorrow Awards, in the Community Awards category. Basecamp Explorer, operates a collection of destinations across the globe in a responsible and enlightened way.

Costas Christ, Chairman of Judges said: "Each year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise sustainable tourism best practices in action, helping to transform the travel and tourism industry based upon the principles of environmentally friendly operations, support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and direct benefits to the social and economic well-being of local people in travel destinations around the world. This year's finalists continue to demonstrate that when carefully managed, tourism can be a powerful force for improving livelihoods and protecting our planet for future generations."

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.

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Marzieh Fallah Joins Tourforce as Malaysian Tourism Correspondent

Starting this edition, Tourforce will have a regular piece on tourism in Malaysia – innovations, new programs, infrastructure, investment and destination development updates. For many years now Malaysia has maintained strong growth in tourism and has marketed itself very successfully under the brand: Malaysia Truly Asia. It recently hosted the 2014 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Kuching.

Marzieh Fallah has been appointed as Malaysian correspondent for Tourforce. She was born in Amol Town, in south coast of Caspian Sea, Iran and has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Gorgan majoring in Biology- Plant Science and a Master Degree from Teaching Training University of Tehran (TTUT). She is currently in the final stages of completing her Ph.D from the Environmental Studies faculty at the University Putra Malaysia (UPM). Marzieh specialises in ecotourism, sustainable tourism, protected area management and environmental modelling. Her PhD research focussed on ecotourism in protected areas.

In her leisure time Marzieh enjoys cycling and music – playing the harmonica.   

UNWTO Sec-General Praises Oz Tourism Policy

The UNWTO Secretary-General recently concluded a 5-day trip to Australia to meet with federal and state officials as well as main private sector associations and UNWTO Affiliate Members. Mr Rifai met with Tony Charters, an Affiliate Member of UNWTO, during the Brisbane sector of his visit.   During his visit, Mr. Rifai underscored the progress made by Australia in converging with UNWTO’s main policy recommendations: supporting travel facilitation, intelligent taxation and sustainability.

Mr. Rifai congratulated the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, and his team for their commitment to review taxation on the sector and facilitate visas. “Australia sets a fine example to the world as a leading destination in sustainability, marketing, research and planning. Through enhancing aviation policies, improving visa policies and increasing tourism investment, Australia will be well on track to achieving its Tourism 2020 goals.”

The UNWTO Secretary-General further highlighted the role Australia can play in positioning tourism in the international trade agenda. "Tourism has now a distinctive voice in Australia’s foreign policy, after being included in the portfolio of the Ministry of Trade and Investment, allowing for tourism to be clearly positioned in international trade agreements, among other strategic areas," he said. In a meeting with Minister Andrew Robb, Mr. Rifai highlighted the opportunity to fully seize tourism’s new positioning within the trade and investment portfolio.

Mr. Rifai concluded his visit in Brisbane to keynote the CAUTHE Conference, as well as a meeting with Queensland’s Minister for Tourism Ms. Jann Stuckey, the Queensland Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games (DTESB) and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC).

Singapore MICE Go Green

In a report presented to the ASEAN Tourism Forum last month in Kuching, the Singapore Tourism Board reported that it had developed Sustainability Guidelines to serve as a reference guide for Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) industry players in Singapore. These Guidelines are referenced from international standards such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards and geared towards those who are keen to adopt sustainable practices.

The Sustainability Guidelines cover seven industry categories from across the business events ecosystem, including hotels, venues, event organisers and meeting planners, transportation, food and beverage, as well as audio-visual set-up. Areas covered under the guidelines include advice on waste management and the efficient use of water and energy as well as initiatives that encourage employees to develop a commitment to sustainable practices. “With corporate clients and delegates becoming increasingly concerned about the environment, business event organisers and meeting planners are turning to destinations and venues with strong sustainability policies in place,” said Mr. Chew Tiong Heng, Executive Director, Business Tourism Development at the Singapore Tourism Board. “Green initiatives are therefore gaining traction among MICE event organisers, who recognise that such endeavours significantly enhance the overall visitor experience,” he added.




Philippines Back to Growth

After the devastating earthquake in October 2013, the Philippines is back in business and is gearing up for a return to strong growth.

Speaking at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Kuching, Rolando Canizal said the Philippines enjoyed 9.6 per cent growth in arrivals in 2013, with Korea representing 25% of the inbound market, followed by USA – 15% and China and Japan - both 9%. Tourism receipts grew by 15.3% - indicating a strong growth in yield through extended length of stay and daily spends. Growth potential can be achieved through the dramatic expansion of Clark Airport, about 95 km out of Manila (previously a US Airbase) and a new budget airline terminal is scheduled to open in 2015.

In the wake of the devastation of the earthquake, the Philippines has moved to rebuild damaged communities and infrastructure, and to stress that most of the country is intact and ready for -  as they say in their famous branding – more fun in the Philippines.




Digital Magazine

National Geographic Travel and Canada have developed the World’s first-ever Digital Super Magazine - 50 Places of a Lifetime: Canada. It brings together the best Canadian travel writers with iconic National Geographic photographers and showcases content from every Canadian province and territory including practical travel information on where to stay, when to go, how to get around, what to eat or drink, what to buy, and what to read or watch before you go. The website receives 22.4 million visitors per month from around the world.

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Text Travel

India-based holiday booking site MakeMyTrip is now enabling consumers to arrange a bus journey across the country with just a couple of text messages. The platform first requires MakeMyTrip customers to send a text message which details the start location, destination, passenger numbers and dates of travel. MakeMyTrip then responds by SMS with a numbered list of available options and operators from over 12,000 bus routes across India.

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Nature-Based Margaret River

Ecotourism in the Margaret River region has been boosted with the opening of the redeveloped Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat in Bramley National Park. The upgraded retreat now includes four new lodge rooms, three new forest cottages and 44 bush caravan and camping sites. The $1.2 million redevelopment is part of the Naturebank program a joint initiative between the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Tourism WA.

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Virgin Holidays has announced a partnership with the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity to help inform its customers about sensible tanning practices when on holidays. The campaign will be fronted by an official Virgin Holidays launch ‘Tanbassador’ and will see a range of initiatives rolled out over the next 12 months in destinations visited by Virgin Holidays customers. Virgin Holidays shops will also distribute information in booklets, customer ticket wallets and also via the Virgin Holidays website.

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Travel Foundation

After 10 years, the Travel Foundation has generated more than 1 million in revenue for local people including craftspeople, fishermen, farmers and tourist guides. The Travel Foundation's livelihoods programs enable local people to benefit economically from tourism to their home country by creating new jobs and demand for locally produced products and services.

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Project Childhood

Project Childhood is a $7.5 million Australian aid initiative to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism in the countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. The project brings together the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL and World Vision on programs which protect children and prevent their abuse. World Vision works with Governments, the tourism industry and communities to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation by raising awareness, building community resilience and building child safe tourism.

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Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa Leads Best Practice

By Marzieh Fallah

The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa located in southwest Langkawi is probably the first resort in Malaysia that supported the principles of responsible tourism where it has programs that saved water, conserved energy and reduced solid waste, while saving money, in order to help protect the local environment.

In its short history, the resort has already received a host of awards including PATA Gold Awards, ASEAN Green Hotel Awards, a Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award to mention just a few. Various greening programs are being implemented within its daily operations and to minimise environmental impacts, including reducing waste, using environmentally-friendly detergents, filtering the resort’s ‘grey water’ through an organic method and working with the local authorities to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to the island’s limited landfill.

Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa is a good model of best practice and demonstrates how hotels can be genuinely green.

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Bed Sheet Bag

Marriott Hotels has created the Bed Linen Tote a stylish bag that is made out of recycled bed sheets rather than landfill. Working with designers Lily & Lionel and UK-based eco bag manufacturer SleepingBags, the hotel chain developed a one-of-a-kind accessory that customers could purchase to take away with them. Since the bed linen fabric was chosen initially to offer comfort to hotel guests, the bags retain a quality feel, complete with a special designer print.

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Holiday Park App

The Holiday Accommodation Parks Association of New Zealand has launched a new Holiday Parks App using GPS to determine the user’s location to show holiday parks nearby in either a map view or list view. In addition, it shows the locations of nearby toilets, petrol stations, supermarkets and real-time road alerts to help drivers plan their trip. The app lists over 290 holiday parks in New Zealand. Holiday parks provide New Zealand's best leisure accommodation, whether you are a backpacker or a family on holiday.

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UK-based FlatClub is tapping into existing university networks to help alumni set up safe short-term accommodation sharing. Much like Airbnb, FlatClub users can upload details about their space for others to browse, setting the rental price and dates the property is available. Hosts can also choose the audience for their listings, whether that’s strictly alumni from the university they attended or those from restricted Clubs created by users identified using university or company email addresses. FlatClub currently operates across 30 US and UK organisations and has around 50,000 verified members.

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Personalised Travel Guides


Sweden’s Arlanda Airport is using real-time updates by city residents on the photo-sharing platform Instagram to enable visitors to discover new locations through a personalised travel guide. The app uses open Instagram feeds to collect live photos being taken by locals for tourists. Each photo comes with a geotag showing the name of the venue where it was taken and if users like the look of it they can save it to their personalised guide. This can then be downloaded to an offline guide that offers a map and details of the venues bookmarked.

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Blogger Campaign

Tourism Victoria, in partnership with Royal Brunei Airlines, has launched a bloggers campaign with five well respected and influential bloggers from the United Kingdom. The bloggers experienced individual touring route itineraries featuring Melbourne and regional Victoria supported by regional operators. Initial results saw over 18 million opportunities to see the #MelbourneTouring content created by the bloggers. Future campaign activity will involve the development of an e-Book utilising content and images generated as a result of the bloggers visit to Victoria.

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Global Sustainable Tourism Review

A new sustainable destination tool aims to fill the gap between what experts think and what tourists want in order to help destinations create bridges between their sustainable initiatives and visitor requirements. The Global Sustainable Tourism Review has been created to see sustainable destinations through the eyes of potential visitors. It is an independent non-commercial document that rates 1,000 destinations by results of their sustainability policies which tourists can experience in practice.

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Aboriginal Tourism Development Strategy

The Victorian Government has launched the Aboriginal Tourism Development Strategy 2013-2023 that is designed to grow Victoria’s share of this market. The strategy will showcase the quality, diversity and accessibility of the state’s Aboriginal tourism product through a collaborative approach that maximises opportunities for local tourism operators and offers products that appeal to international and domestic visitors. The strategy was developed following consultation with key stakeholders in the Aboriginal tourism industry.

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Weatherproof Your Business

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) has created the Weatherproof Your Business online toolkit to assist operators prepare, respond and recover from any one of a number of potentially severe weather events. The toolkit makes crisis management planning easy and prompts operators to complete templates as part of the business continuity plan.

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A Toga Hotels survey has revealed that one-third of Australians use social media on holidays because they secretly enjoy boasting to their online communities. A lot of this ‘smoasting’ happens through the use of images with one-third of 35 to 44 year olds regularly posting photos of their accommodation while on holiday. The research suggests Australians prefer staying online and connected at all times rather than relax on holidays. The online study was conducted with 1,000 respondents aged 18 years and older from 30 September until 4 October 2013.

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Bear Viewing Ecotourism

A study has found that ecotourism involving bear viewing in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest generates far more value to the economy in terms of revenue, taxes and jobs than the trophy hunting of grizzly and black bears. The research determined that bear viewing generated 12 times more in visitor spending and directly employed an estimated 510 persons compared to bear hunting. The study was conducted by researchers from the Centre for Responsible Travel and funded by Tides Canada and Nature Conservancy USA.

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Value of Regional Tourism


Tourism Victoria, working with Deloittes Access Economics, has released new research data that provides valuable insight about regional tourism's value to the state's economy. The report has found that tourism (directly and indirectly) contributes $10.9 billion to the regional Victorian economy and generates 109,300 jobs. It also found that the total tourism industry GRP for regional Victoria grew at an average annual rate of 4.9 per cent between 2006-07 and 2011-12, compared to 6.1 per cent average annual growth in Melbourne.

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Australian Travel Agent Barometer

The Australian Travel Agent Barometer will be conducted annually and is designed to reflect the real views of Australian travel agents about the retail travel agent landscape and what is important to them. The barometer will be sent to over 15,000 travel professionals and included over 100 face-to-face interviews with agents. It will provide a platform for agents to express their views anonymously, providing feedback to industry leaders and suppliers on what issues really matter.

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Queensland Social Indicators

New research by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) has provided valuable insights into perceptions about tourism and the importance of the industry to the Queensland economy. The Social Indicators 2013 report was a state-wide examination of the social impact of tourism on local communities which has shown that economic impacts, increased regional profile and greater cultural diversity are the main benefits. The online survey involved 3,850 Queensland participants.

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The Q Factor

The T-QUAL Accreditation program has launched a media relations campaign which celebrates the unique personalities of tourism operators from around the country. The ‘Q-Factor’ campaign aims to put the spotlight on quality tourism by showcasing some of the businesses that are endorsed by the T-QUAL Tick. The operators will act as spokespeople, seeding messages about tourism quality and the T-QUAL Tick through media interviews and editorial opportunities.

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Expressions of Interest Open for 2015 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference

Expressions of interest (EOI) are now open to host the 2015 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference.

Global Eco, as it is known, has established a powerful and credible reputation over the past 21 years and each conference has dealt with contemporary issues and deliberately seeks to engage stakeholders in experiential and responsible tourism, sustainability and best practice ecotourism. The conference brings together leading players from across the globe and focuses on applied content and practical outcomes.

Hosting Global Eco provides significant destination profile to the world's leading tourism industry players in the field of nature, indigenous, eco and adventure tourism.  It is an excellent opportunity to profile the destination thanks to great media attention established in the lead up to and during the conference.

To receive a copy of the EOI document or submit your interest, please contact the Global Eco Secretariat at The deadline for submissions is 21 April 2014.


Tourism Ideas Forum

The Victorian Tourism Industry Council is hosting its annual Ideas Forum at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on 12 March 2014. The Ideas Forum is for operators to discuss opportunities for all sectors and share insights to help ensure a successful and sustainable tourism industry in Victoria.

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Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) 2014, Bonito – Brazil

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) is a unique annual conference focused on the advancement of sustainability goals for the tourism industry. Offering invaluable learning and networking opportunities, the ESTC is a leading international meeting place where innovative minds gather to discuss ideas and solutions that inspire change. Promoting policies and practices benefiting businesses and communities, the ESTC helps to reinforce the role of tourism in building a more sustainable future.

ESTC 2014 will be held in Bonito, Mato Gross do Sul in Brazil from 27 to 30 April and expects to bring together 600 professionals from around the world.

The Conference is organised by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), a non-profit association committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. Its global network spans over 120 countries, with members who are leading the vital efforts to make travel and tourism more sustainable.

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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.

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