A new digital initiative by Tourism and Events Queensland titled '#Room753' (or QLD on a phone touchpad) will see 22 high profile Bloggers, Instagrammers and videographers with a combined social media audience reach, in excess of six million, stay in a themed hotel room at Peppers Broadbeach following week long visits exploring Queensland destinations on itineraries designed to match their passions and inspire creativity. Influencers will be sought from Canada, US, UK, India, Korea and the Netherlands as well as Australian bloggers.

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WTTC Announces Headline Speakers for the 2014 Global Summit, Hainan China

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has announced the headline speakers who will present at the 2014 Global Summit in Hainan, China from 24-25 April.

Leading the Summit will be Kofi Annan, the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1997-2006. Other headline contributions include Jeffrey Katzenberg, Yao Ming and economist Dame DeAnne Julius along with dozens of industry leaders.

WTTC’s 14th Global Summit will examine the role of the travel and tourism industry as a force for good in the world with the theme ‘Changing world, new perspectives.’ Public and private sector leaders from outside and inside the industry and government ministers from all continents will attend the Summit to explore and challenge current received wisdoms and their relevance for the near future.

Each year, winners and finalists of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards dedicated to promotion of sustainable tourism, are honoured at a special Awards Ceremony during WTTC’s Global Summit. In front of a global audience of industry leaders WTTC’s showcases companies and organisations that are models of best practices in sustainable tourism development around the world. The Awards Ceremony will take place in the evening of 24th of April 2014.

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Malaysia's Homestay Program Growing Strongly

By Marzieh Fallah

Home stay accommodation, where guests stay with a host family together in one house, is growing strongly in Malaysia. This is an important way for traditional local Malaysia people to welcome tourists and let them know more about the country. The idea behind the home stay program is for tourists to feel and experience the true lifestyle of traditional Malaysians in a warm and comfortable home with a  welcoming family.

Today local people in all states in Malaysia have provided home stay programs with their own distinctive tradtion and fascinating activities. Program participants are approved by The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC). This program provides a greater guarantee for tourists satisfaction and safety during the stay. According to the Ministry of Tourism figures, in 2013, there were 159 communities throughout Malaysia involving more than 3424 participants registered to operate home stay accommodation in the Malaysian Homestay Program. The program is already creating important tourism product for the coutnry and a great economic injection for small communities.

Malaysia's homestay program allows guests to participate in the host’s daily activities, and to interact, gain knowledge, and experience the local lifestyle and culture of the host family as well as the local community. They help the villagers to grow vegetables and fruits, enjoy activities like cultural performances, cooking local dishes, etc. One of the side benefits is that the program allows communities and guests from different cultural backgrounds to interact and learn from each other.


The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) will only issue a licence if the house owner is able to accept a list of selected criteria covering issues such as easy access from the main road, high standard of hygeine, adequate facilities for guests, for example, separate bathroom and a proper toilet, and no criminal record.

Malaysia's Homestay program provides local community participation in tourism and creates income directly into households while offering travellers a genuine experience of the host's culture and traditions.



Sara Vitali Joins Tourforce as Italian Correspondent

Sara Vitali is the new  Italian correspondant  for  Tourforce. She is from a small town on Lake Como area, Italy. She has a Master Degree in tourism, territory and local development from the Milano – Bicocca University. She is starting working in sustainable tourism sector  as project and communication consultant. Her experience is focused on protected areas and tourism services. Sustainability and travels are her passions, proved by her first project a website: Sustainable Tourism World.

An Italian Approach to Small Scale Tourism 

By Sara Vitali

The 'Albergo Diffuso' also named 'scattered hotel' is a new type of Italian accommodation halfway between a hotel and a private home. It is the perfect solution for visitors who want not only to be tourists in Italy, but also have a taste of the real Italy.

This innovation originated  in Carnia in the Italian Region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, in 1982. It grew out of the work of a technical working group whose aim was to recuperate small centres which were destroyed after the earthquake that devastated the territory in 1976. Successively, the model has been engineered by Mr. Giancarlo Dall’Ara.

The Albergo Diffuso (AD) is about two or more existing buildings, like old barns, or unused homes, which may be refurbished and made more comfortable in order to achieve hotel standards. In addition,  AD projects ought to include a proposal for the redevelopment of the surrounding area through partnerships and services linked to local culture and traditions that tourists and the local community can appreciate.

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Museum of Old and New Art Hotel

Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is planning to build a $25 million, 90-room hotel adjacent to its popular gallery on the Derwent River. Designs at this stage will be either an aesthetically challenging high-rise hotel or a low-rise design that would wrap around the waterfront like the museum to make the hotel affordable for everyone. It is scheduled for completion in 2016.

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Ikara Safari Camp

A new glamping option has opened at Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, just over 400kms from Adelaide. Ikara or "meeting place" is the name used by the Adnyamathanha traditional owners for Wilpena Pound. The Safari Camp is the first major upgrade to the property since it was purchased by Indigenous Business Australia in 2012. The project has been co-funded by the Australian Government through the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund Grants Program and the South Australian Government Tourism Development Support Scheme.

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Sustainable Aviation Council

Launched in 2005, Sustainable Aviation is a long-term strategy created by the UK aviation industry to tackle the challenges of ensuring a more sustainable future for the industry. It is the world's first initiative to bring together the main players from UK airlines, airports, manufacturers and air navigation service providers to work together to achieve sustainable aviation.

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In-Flight Safety Movie


Virgin has taken the big screen to the small screen with a new 'movie style' safety video. The airline hopes to grabs passengers' attention with the new on-board video, created by design agency Art & Graft. Animated characters take the viewer on a theatrical journey through different movie genres, including film noir and western, to capture the attention of passengers and inform them of the aircraft's emergency procedures.

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Carbon Neutral City

Egypt's key Red Sea city, El Gouna, is set to become the first carbon neutral city in Africa. The Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs is devising a strategy to transform the Red Sea city into one of the leading carbon-neutral cities in the world. The project will have significant advantages for Egypt in protecting the environment and promoting tourism at local, regional and international levels in cooperation with the city’s hotels, businesses and residents.

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Tourist Tax

Dubai is introducing a room tax to help pay for international promotion and marketing in a bid to attract more visitors and drive growth of the Emirate’s tourism and trade industries leading up to Expo 2020. Called the 'Tourist Dirham,' the hospitality fee will be applied to guests staying in holiday accommodation in Dubai including hotels, hotel apartments, guesthouses and holiday homes. The fee will be applied per room, per night depending on the accommodation category and rating. It will be applicable from 31 March 2014.

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Sustainable Tourism Agreement

The UNWTO and UNESCO have signed a new cooperative agreement to consolidate efforts on integrating sustainable tourism principles within the protection of world heritage. Under the Memorandum of Understanding both organisations will work together on national, regional and global initiatives in the areas of sustainable tourism and the safeguarding of natural and cultural heritage.

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Reconciliation Action Plan

Tourism Australia has launched a Reconciliation Action Plan 2014-16 to meet targets set by Reconciliation Australia including the goal to double employment of Indigenous staff by the end of 2015. The renewed plan builds upon the inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan launched in 2010, which included promoting Indigenous tourism through the successful Indigenous Tourism Champions Program and a new image gallery of Indigenous tourism experiences.

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Destination Success


The Queensland Government has unveiled a new four-point plan to help drive the state’s tourism direction over the next two decades. The 'Destination Success' strategy includes harnessing the potential of the China market and new digital marketing campaigns.

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Travelling Pins


Pinterest has launched ‘Place Pins’ to encourage users to add a location to their pins with easy to pull up information and to share with friends. The new feature combines magazine-style imagery with online maps to help users plan their trips by providing contact details of businesses such as hotels and restaurants. Travel brands have also been creating trip boards including Four Seasons Hotel gastronomic travel, National Geographic’s family travel and Conde Nast’s guide to Italy.

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Time Blend

Launched in July 2013, is the newest online community helping travellers connect, share plans and find inspiration for their next adventure. For solo travellers it is a new way to share travel experiences, save money and travel safer. Users sign-up for free and then share their trip plans for others to ‘join’ in or ‘follow’. The site is available in English, French and Spanish with plans for further international translation.

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Travellers Box

Travellers with leftover foreign currency can now exchange their cash for Bitcoin through Gibraltar-based Travellers Box. The vending machines are designed to help those leaving the country swap their loose change for a currency that will be more useful when they arrive back home. Rather than a traditional foreign exchange the kiosks offer the option of trading in local money for Bitcoin, PayPal and Qiwi account deposits, gift cards for online stores Amazon and iTunes or donated to charity.

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Visitor Information Centre App

Tourism and Events Queensland has developed a free smartphone application in partnership with the Queensland Information Centres Association to promote the network of 116 accredited visitor information centres across the state. The new app will display the three nearest visitor information centres to a user’s location and provides up to 12 recommendations from the nearest information centres on local tourism experiences and events.

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Best Ethical Destinations

Each year the Ethical Traveller researches and publishes a list of the 10 most ethical destinations in the developing world. Each country is reviewed for its performance in the areas of human rights, social welfare and protection of the environment, as well as its appeal as a travel destination. The California based Ethical Traveller is a volunteer non-profit project of the Earth Island Institute that aims to use the power of tourism to protect human rights and the environment.

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Travel Lottery

The Travel Foundation has launched a customer lottery to encourage travel and tourism businesses to sell lottery tickets to customers alongside holiday goods and services. For £2 ticket, customers have a chance to win up to £5,000 in a monthly draw. At least 50p from each ticket sold will go directly to supporting the work of the Travel Foundation, with a further 50p contributing to the prize fund.

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The TreadRight Foundation

AAT Kings is a part of a joint initiative with The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation established by The Travel Corporation to encourage sustainable tourism. To date, the foundation has donated more than $2 million to sustainable tourism projects around the world and in Australia. AAT Kings has donated $95,000 over two years to Phillip Island Nature Parks to assist in the research and management of Australia's most famous colony of Little Penguins.

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Global Travel Intentions Survey


The Visa Global Travel Intentions Study analyses tourism transactions across multiple countries to understand how, where and why cross-border spend takes place. The 2013 study was undertaken by Millward Brown through online and offline surveys with 12,631 travellers aged 18 and above across 25 markets in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas.

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The 2013 Traveller

Findings from a recent Google-commissioned 2013 Traveller Report has revealed that US leisure and business travellers use more than one digital device to undertake a variety of activities and videos had an influence on the action taken by travellers including inspiration to take a vacation, destination selection and considering the travel brand being advertised. The 6500 participants were US residents aged between 21 and 54.

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Satisfying Tasmania

Tourism Research Australia and Tourism Tasmania have conducted a study to explore perceptions of Tasmania as a holiday destination. The research explores the key perceptions of Tasmania, core appeals driving visitation and visitor satisfaction with holiday experiences including willingness to re-visit Tasmania in the future.

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Research Partnership

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced a partnership with specialist insights provider The two organisations have reached a 2-year agreement to support PATA's strategic focus on providing insights, forecasts and analysis. They will collaborate on the development of accessible insights to drive growth of the visitor economy within and to the region.

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Grand Cliff Top Walks

Launched at the Blue Mountains Festival of Walking, the Grand Cliff Top Walks is a new iconic walk experience in the Upper Blue Mountains. The walk will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views from the cliff top escarpment, venture down into valleys teeming with wildlife, visit waterfalls and explore the six Blue Mountains villages from Wentworth Falls to Mount Victoria.

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Three Capes Track

The Three Capes Track project is gaining momentum as Australia’s premier coastal walk taking in the Tasman Peninsula including Cape Raoul, Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy. The multi-day bushwalk is being developed by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and is located in the Tasman National Park. Both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments fund the project, with private investment in facilities and the first walkers expected to embark on the track in November 2015.

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Accreditation Transfer

From 1 July 2014 the Australian Government will transfer responsibility for accrediting tourism products to industry. Funding will be allocated following an open competitive tender process for all elements currently managed under the existing T-QUAL Accreditation program.

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Ulysses Awards

The winners of the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Awards for Innovation in Tourism were announced on 22 January 2014 at FITUR in Madrid. Since 2003, the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism have honoured tourism initiatives that contribute to advance tourism through knowledge and innovation in line with the principles of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

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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.


Australian Youth Tourism Exchange

The Australian Youth Tourism Exchange will be held in Sydney from 20 to 22 May 2014. The event is being run by ATEC in partnership with Destination New South Wales and Tourism Australia. The event aims to connect backpacker, youth, adventure and education suppliers with international buyers. It will also incorporate the annual ATEC Youth Tourism Conference that brings together youth tourism professionals to examine the latest trends, policy issues and industry opportunities.

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Social Tourism Media Symposium

The Social Media Tourism Symposium will be held from 16 to 17 July 2014 in the Barossa region of South Australia. The event provides an opportunity for destination marketing organisations, hotels, resorts, attractions and any other tourism-related entities to share ideas and learn how to leverage social media within the tourism industry.

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IUCN World Parks Congress

The IUCN World Parks Congress will take place in Sydney from 12 to 19 November 2014. This landmark global forum on protected areas is held every 10 years and aims to share knowledge and innovation to set the agenda for protected areas conservation over the next decade. Building on the theme "Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions" it will present, discuss and create original approaches to addressing the gap in the conservation and sustainable development.

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