Tony Charters and Associates

Edition 84 - January 2015

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Taj Mahal E-Ticketing

One of India's most iconic tourist attractions will trial e-ticketing with the aim of reducing long queues and ticket touts. The Archaeological Survey of India will trial e-ticketing for one month and monitor visitors' feedback as it is estimated over six million tourists visit the Taj Mahal yearly. The move toward automating entry is in part to better calculate the exact number of tourists visiting the monument with a view to possibly limiting the number of tickets sold each day.

Further information:

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Finalists Announced

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the 15 finalists for its 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. With categories covering destination stewardship, community benefit, environmental management, workforce development and innovation, and a rigorous judging process, these Awards provide the highest accolade for sustainability in the global Travel & Tourism industry.

The Awards aim to transform the Travel & Tourism industry, based upon sustainable tourism principles, by educating and inspiring travel & tourism businesses and destinations about how to improve the sustainability of the sector. Applications were received from 57 countries across all continents.

Tony Charters is part of the international team of 20 acclaimed sustainable tourism judges to the awards.

To discover the finalists:


Micro Hotels

Micro-hotel brand Yotel is expanding its capsule-type accommodations to 3,000 new rooms in various cities worldwide by 2018 including Dubai, London, Milan, Barcelona, Sydney and Hong Kong. Yotel currently operates hotels in Heathrow and Gatwick airports in London and Schiphol Amsterdam Airport in the Netherlands.

Further information:


One Less Stranger

Airbnb has announced a unique social challenge (#OneLessStranger) that acts on the company's core principles of hospitality, belonging, and opening doors around the world. The company is giving $10 (or equivalent in foreign currency) to 100,000 Airbnb community members worldwide to use for a unique act of kindness with the goal of inspiring others to join in this global movement to help rid the world of strangers.

Further information:

Social Ambassadors

Accor Advantage Plus has launched an exciting '100 Days of More' competition to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The competition encourages members to share their favourite travel photos with the most 'liked' photos in the running to win one of six major prizes. The competition runs until 20 February 2015 and while anyone can view, like and share the photos, only members are eligible for prizes and to enter photos into the competition.

Further information:


Protected Planet Report

According to a new United Nations Environment Programme report released at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature World Parks Congress, the world is on track to meet a 2020 target on the expansion of protected areas. Produced by UNEP's World Conversation Monitoring Centre in partnership with IUCN and funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the report monitors global efforts to support and expand protected areas, as well as supporting governments toward faster progress with recommendations for action.

Further information:


Urban Koorie Tour

A new tour in and around Melbourne’s Federation Square reveals how the city’s landscape has changed since European settlement and the significance of the Yarra River or Birrarung Wilam (River of Mist camp) to the Indigenous people. The Urban Koorie Tour will use Koorie Heritage Trust and Federation Square guides to show how the landscape has changed over time and the historical significance behind some of the contemporary sculptures and installations.

Further information:


Wild Rope Adventures

Taronga Zoo in collaboration with Ecoline has opened a new treetop high ropes adventure which gives participants the chance to navigate a series of more than 60 challenges over four courses including suspension bridges, rope climbs and zip-lines. Wild Ropes is an innovative eco-tourism experience that allows visitors to observe animals, challenge their personal limits and enjoy views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It is a low environmental impact, high adventure experience that is designed to test the limits of adventurers at all ages.

Further information:

Private Sanctuary at the Airport

Weary travellers may soon be able make their time at the airport more pleasant and comfortable by renting a private space. Napcabs are luxurious sleeping cabins that can provide passengers with a private space and that includes a bed, workspace, luggage storage, air conditioning, internet access, an iPod dock and an alarm clock. The four metre squared cabins are currently being trialled in Munich airport for $12 - $18USD per hour and if successful could be implemented at airports all around the world.

Further information:


Fijian Welcome

Fiji's National Airline has launched a new brand campaign designed to showcase the warm nature of Fijian hospitality called Welcome to Our Home. The campaign has been launched through a series of videos featuring three real families who recently travelled to and from Fiji needing a much-deserved home-away-from-home experience of a lifetime. They were nominated by friends and family back in September.

Further information:


Tourism Business Fire Ready Kit

Tourism Victoria and the Country Fire Authority have produced a new toolkit to assist tourism businesses prepare for bushfires. The Tourism Business Fire Ready Kit guides business owners through the decision-making process to develop a plan to suit their business. It helps owners understand their risks, prepare their business and employees, plan how to inform their customers, identify their triggers to act and prepare a plan

Further information:

Brand USA Reauthorised

The U.S. Congress has passed a spending bill to renew Brand USA, America's public-private travel promotion partnership. The scheme is funded partly by contributions from the private sector and a portion of a fee that foreign visitors who are part of the Visa Waiver Program pay when they apply for authorisation to visit the United States. The program has generated more than 1.1 million additional visitors to the United States, $3.4 billion in additional visitor spending and $1 billion in federal, local and state tax revenues.

Further information:


Ski Safe Campaign

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has launched its winter sports holiday awareness campaign with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to stop people going on ski trips without the right insurance. ABTA is the UK's largest travel association representing travel agents and tour operators which has 1,200 members representing 5,000 shops and offices.

Further information:


Have It All

New Caledonia Tourism has unveiled the second phase of its 'Have It All' campaign, featuring talented Australian-French personality Justine Schofield as destination ambassador. Justine will appear in a series of 'Have It All,' destination and culinary themed webisodes as well as integrated social media and public relations activities to further drive awareness of the destination. The campaign will primarily target 25 to 35 and 55+ year old independent and active couples looking to discover cultural experiences and soft adventure.

Further information:


World Tourism Barometer

The UNWTO World Tourism Barometer is a regular publication aimed at monitoring the short-term evolution of tourism and providing the sector with relevant and timely information. It is periodically updated and contains an overview of short-term tourism data from destination countries and air transport, a retrospective and prospective evaluation of tourism performance by the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts and selected economic data relevant for tourism.

Further information:

Big Data Partnership

South Korea's state-run tourism agency will partner with Chinese Internet giant Baidu to utilise its search traffic resources to attract more visitors from China. The two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly collate big data to identify trends and promote customised tour programs. The tour-related data will assist the Korea Tourism Organisation establish marketing strategies based on the scientific analysis of demand to target the source markets of Beijing, Shanghai, Zheziang and Guangdong.

Further information:

Online Reviews Survey

TripAdvisor has announced the results of a new study which reveals the key factors that drive engagement for businesses from travellers researching places to stay. The study analysed data such as the number of reviews, management responses, photo and video content to reveal which factors most encourage travellers to look for more information about the property. It also revealed how review ratings change based on management response rates and the level of traveller engagement relative to various content factors.

Further information:

State of the Nation has released its inaugural ‘State of the Nation’ travel report which reveals changing trends and behaviour of Australian travellers. The study conducted among 2,567 Aussies aged 18 and older who have travelled in the past two years, or intend to travel internationally in the next 12 months found that those aged 24 and under are shaping the future of Aussie travel, taking off earlier and travelling farther and more frequently.

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Cruising Australia

A study by Cruise Lines International Association Australasia has revealed that cruise passengers provided a total economic contribution of $3.2 billion in 2013. Sydney, Fremantle and Melbourne topped the list in terms of highest daily spend for international passengers who purchase accommodation, shopping, dining and transport before they board their ship. The four biggest operating expenses for cruise companies was fuel, food and beverages, travel agent commissions and port charges. The report was prepared by Business Research & Economic Advisors using a global methodology adopted for economic impact statements on cruise tourism in the US, UK and Europe.

Further information:


Destination Australia Conference

The inaugural Destination Australia Conference will be held in Sydney on 17 March 2015. The event will focus on how to attract more high-yielding international visitors to Australia to grow the tourism industry. The day will include a high profile line up of speakers from both tourism and non-tourism sectors covering international consumer insights, marketing campaigns, innovations and global trends in tourism.

Further information:

Tourism Development and Sustainability on Flores, Indonesia

The Eco Flores Foundation, developed to initiate and facilitate collaborations and partnerships in efforts for the sustainable development of Flores in the Indonesian archipelo, held a meeting on 9 December 2014 at the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia in Jakata with the aim to establish a shared vision about the right type of tourism development for the island’s sustainable future and initiate stakeholder collaboration.

Flores was selected in the 2014 Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100.

Further information:


Training in Tourism and Hospitality: a key component in sustainable tourism

By Mary Mwendwa - African Correspondent

The existence of only several tourism related training colleges and institutions in Kenya is a clear indicator of the need of personnel in the industry. However, despite the huge demand of personnel, some trainers and employers have taken advantage of this situation, and are offering low quality training standards in the name of saving money.

David Wanyama, a trainer at Wildlife Clubs of Kenya College said, "As trainers in the tourism and hospitality sector, we focus on giving the best in the market out there, apart from the course work, we instill morals and knowledge among the students to prepare them for the job market which comes with its own challenges, especially the poaching menace which Kenya is currently struggling with."

He also points out the need to have a curriculum that is relevant to Kenya's scenarios, some colleges use foreign curriculums which are not relevant to Kenya's tourism sector.

To read the full article, click HERE

Unconventional Hotels

By Sara Vitali - Italian Correspondent

Unconventional Hotels is a new interesting initiative born in Italy from the eclectic mind of Concetta D'emma, former Project Co-Founder of the first eco-friendly hotel chain in Italy.

Unconventional Hotels helps hospitality and food services to valorise what they do for the environment, for people and for animals. Concetta D'Emma, an expert in unconventional tourism and green marketing, helps the industry to recognise, accept and respect people with different food necessities (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, celiac, sportive, with different religions, intolerant of lactose, etc ), in order to find specific solutions for these targets. Unconventional Hotels also help to find solutions for people who are wheelchair reliant, sight impaired, have a pet or homosexual, all the categories considered generally as diverse.

All those and many other groups are very often considered only minorities in terms of guests and not enough to invest in. Most of the time this is simply due to lack of information. On the other side, people feel guilty about their 'differences,' so they never ask for assistance and simply assume that hoteliers cannot satisfy their necessities. Unconventional Hotels recognise that 'unconventional' guests should be viewed in a different way, as an opportunity instead of a problem. "

This is one of the reasons why Concetta started an online gathering of people who want to help and share with each other. The Unconventional Hotels website is a members-only online resource that provides the very best information and support about unconventional guests and hotels and brings together an unconventional community of like-minded members.