Tony Charters and Associates

Edition 85 - February 2015

Circulated to 18,000 Professionals Worldwide

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2015 Global Eco Call for Papers Now Open

The theme for the 2015 Global Eco Conference is Ecotourism - Navigating for Success. The conference will be held 17 – 19 November at Rottnest Island, Western Australia.

Concurrent, workshop and masterclass papers are being sought on the following topics:

  • Island, coastal and marine ecotourism planning, management or operations
  • Driving revenue growth from quality systems
  • Optimising the ecotourism value of UNESCO sites - world heritage, biosphere reserves
  • Tourism awards - what makes a winner - are they good for business?
  • Small ecotourism business, big reach - case studies in innovative marketing
  • Global trends and innovation in ecotourism
  • Indigenous and community-based ecotourism
  • Global geotourism, geoparks and geotrails
  • Tourism investment: where is the growth? Attracting investors
  • Developing ecotourism destinations and national landscapes
  • Climate change and ecotourism
  • Innovative partnerships and ecotourism

Accepted speakers will be offered a 10% discount on registration, excluding networking events and technical tours.

The deadline for submission of papers is COB, Monday, 30 March 2015.

Leaders Call for New Global Voice on Ecotourism

The entire Advisory Committee for The International Ecotourism Society (under the International Tourism Collective's TIES Program) has resigned. The former TIES Committee has now created a new organisation - the Global Ecotourism Network.

The new group is calling for global participation from members within the international ecotourism and sustainable tourism community to join in a transition to a new, positive, transparent and accountable global association to support the growth of authentic ecotourism and sustainable tourism around the world. Chairing the transition team is Glenn Jampol. Jampol is based in Costa Rica and has participated as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and then the Advisory Committee of the ITC's TIES program for over 11 years.

All the current committee members will be joining Jampol in leaving the ITC to start the Global Ecotourism Network, a group who have over 100 years combined of Ecotourism Board experience.

Tony Charters, a long term member of the TIES Advisory Committee and former Deputy Chair of TIES was one of the Committee to resign and is now part of the Global Ecotourism Network.

Laptops to Mountain Tops

In the remote mountain village of Burenitu on the main Island of Fiji (Viti Levu) there is a pre-school and primary school for the local village children. Burenitu Village has no mains power and school has a small generator which is switched on to run the photocopier or the computer.

The school is in an idealic location, near by to the amazing Upper Navua River, a conservation area and RAMSAR site. The village consists of just a few hundred people and these are their ancestral lands. The school principal Mr Epineri Vuli would love to see his students have greater access to learning through computers.

Currently they have very limited access to computers. If you can assist with recent model, functioning laptop computers, solar powered chargers and similar tools email us at and we will pass the details on to Epineri.

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:

Discover Your Smile

Thomson has unveiled a multi-million pound integrated marketing campaign focused around its 'Discover Your Smile' slogan which tells the story of a bear called Miles whose smile is restored. It will feature outdoor, print and online advertising, video on demand, email marketing, social media and PR. Miles the Bear will be available at Thomson retail shops with a percentage of proceeds going to the Family Holiday Association.

Further information:


Social Travel

Backpackr is a social network which connects like-minded travellers around the world. Whether you are a solo traveller or travelling in a group, the app allows people to expand their network by planning to meet, collect virtual stamps and share photos with friends. It is designed for those who already travel, but it is a useful aid for motivating people who normally wouldn't feel comfortable travelling alone.

Further information:

Virtual Guides

Marriott Hotels has partnered with Academy Award-winning Framestore to create a virtual reality-powered travel guide. The virtual travel experience takes place in a phone booth-like structure allowing guests to see, hear and feel what it is like to be in a destination through a combination of live-action video, audio, CGI effects and immersive elements. It features the Oculus Rift DK2 virtual reality headset, wireless headphones and suite of 4D sensory elements.

Further information:

How Much Is That Seat?

Online travel company TripAdvisor has redesigned its flights search feature to provide detailed information globally on any given flight's price specific to 31 countries and in 17 languages. It aims to simplify the experience for those who book their own flights by showing all available flights with fare comparisons and a breakdown by flight segment of amenities and services on a particular airplane. Other information includes seat pitch, flight on-time records, availability of Wi-Fi, in-seat power ports, seatback video and TV.

Further information:


Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels has opened its first property, a 250-room hotel in the historic Old Dearborn Bank Building in Chicago's Loop district. The hotel brand will offer free unlimited Wi-Fi, no early or late check-in fees and no room service delivery charges or business centre transactions. Amenities include five food and beverage outlets, gym, spa and Commons Club open to all guests. Plans are to open a second hotel in Nashville in 2016 and a third property in New York City in 2017.

Further information:

Room Shopping

The Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam has launched its own service called Room Shopping, which lets guests source products from local suppliers and gets them delivered to their room in under an hour. The service is part of a special package that includes an overnight stay in a double room with breakfast. Alongside the usual room service menu, each couple also receives a Room Shopping Menu that includes a range of fashion, beauty, design, lifestyle and art products.

Further information:


Tourism Slavery

The UK Home Office has launched an information campaign talking to the tourism and hospitality industry helping them to spot the signs of slavery. Modern slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people, forced labour, servitude and slavery. Traffickers and unscrupulous recruitment agencies target a range of industries including those involved in hospitality. The Modern Slavery campaign is encouraging all hotels and restaurants to make proper background checks on the agencies who supply them with labour, including where the agency is operating in a supervisory role.

Further information:

Conserve Tool

A new tool has been launched to assist hotels in reducing their energy and waste emissions by sharing best practice and comparing the results. Considerate Hoteliers has partnered with EnergyDeck to create 'Con-Serve,' a crowd sourced sustainability assessment platform for hotels that provides essential data and guidance. Properties that use the tool will be able to collaborate and share data on the platform across a range of measures including carbon emissions, water use and waste management.

Further information:


Zoo Lodge

The Jamala Wildlife Lodge at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra is offering visitors an all-inclusive luxury lodge experience with behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters including lions, tigers, cheetahs, brown bears, sun bears, sharks, otters, meerkats and rhinos. The lodge is Australia's only combined zoo and aquarium and aims to try and get people immersed in the world of wildlife in a luxurious and fairly unique surrounding with three accommodation precincts.

Further information:


Sister Caves Partnership

The Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association and the People's Committee of Quảng Bình Province in Vietnam have forged an innovative geotourism partnership to share best practice management, research, environmental management, staff training, marketing and promotion and infrastructure development. The world's first 'Sister Caves Agreement' involves collaboration to improve the management of tourist caves in Vietnam and Western Australia.

Further information:

Protected Promise

The Promise of Sydney was launched at the recent IUCN World Parks Congress which sets out an ambitious agenda to safeguard the planet's natural assets and highlights the need to invigorate global efforts to protect natural areas including scaling up the protection of landscapes and oceans by 2020. It includes pledges from governments, international organisations, the private sector, indigenous leaders, community groups and individuals.

Further information:


Export Market Development Grants

The Australian Government has announced a review of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme which will give exporters the opportunity to provide comment and insight into how the scheme works. Public submissions and a range of meetings will be held around Australia to ensure a wide range of views are collated before 30 June 2015.

Further information:

Sustainable Tourism Partnership

A new international program that aims to create a shift to more sustainable tourism over the next decade was launched at the recent World Travel Market in London. The Sustainable Tourism Programme will be led by the World Tourism Organisation and the Governments of France, Morocco and Korea, with the support of the UN Environment Programme.

Further information:

China ADS Code of Conduct Review

Austrade have released the revised Code of Conduct and compliance considerations associated with the China Approved Destination Status (ADS) program. The key changes relate to the approval and monitoring of China Guides, improvements to the clarity of the Code, application process for inbound tour operators and new breach and sanctions structure.

Further information:


Global Healthcare

Medigo is a Berlin-based company that helps users plan their medical tourism trips, with clinic reviews and information. Users can search the site for their particular problem or procedure from dentistry, eye surgery, restricted drug treatments or even plastic surgery. They can also select the location they'd like to visit to bring up a list of the verified clinics in that region. Each clinic profile shows the facility's accreditation, the procedures they excel at, the staff that work there, the languages they cater for and nearby amenities.

Further information:


Wildlife Tourism

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has released a report on measuring the economic value of wildlife watching tourism in Africa based on a survey carried out in early 2014. The report highlights the need for better data on the economic value of wildlife watching tourism in protected areas which generate large amounts of revenue for the sustainable development of the region. A total of 48 governmental institutions and 148 tour operators from 31 African countries participated in the survey.

Further information:

Future of Travel 2024

The third and final phase of the Future of Travel 2024 report by Skyscanner predicts that the heights of the Earth's orbit and the depths of the world's oceans will become holiday destinations in the next decade. The report also highlights new travel destinations around the world and predicts how travellers' social media profiles will enable hoteliers to create a truly bespoke and intuitive experience based on each individual's needs and desires. The report is the result of in-depth research and a series of interviews with a team of 56-strong trend experts and futurologists.

Further information:

Tackling the Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup, the world's third largest major sporting event has the potential to generate over £2 billion in economic impact for the host destination according to a report by business advisory firm, The Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The report commissioned by Rugby World Cup Limited assessed the potential economic impact of the Rugby World Cup for the UK in 2015.

Further information:


Accessible New York

Wheely is a new application designed to assist wheelchair and stroller users better navigate the New York City Subway system as well as provide a useful guide to accessible places in specific neighbourhoods. The handy interactive guide focuses on transportation and includes a number of map-based tools such as Google Maps, Street View, MTA maps and real-time information to help users plot the best route for their needs.

Further information:


Robot Valet

Customers of Düsseldorf Airport's PremiumPLUS parking scheme have a new robotic employee who will safely store your car. Ray the robot valet uses laser-scanning to determine the size and shape of the vehicle and tows it safely into one of 249 dedicated storage spaces. When returning from their holiday the automated system uses the customer's flight details to make sure their car is ready to pick up as soon as they land.

Further information:



Destination Australia Conference

Tourism Australia's inaugural Destination Australia Conference will be held in Sydney on 17 March 2015. The conference is aimed at industry decision makers and tourism businesses that are actively marketing Australia to high-yielding international leisure visitors and business travellers.

Further information:

International Aboriginal Tourism Conference

The International Aboriginal Tourism Conference will take place in Quebec City from 24 - 25 March 2015. Organised by the Québec Aboriginal Tourism and World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, the event will host over 300 Aboriginal tourism professionals and organisations. The two-day event will include keynote speaker presentations, exhibition fair, social and networking events.

Further information:


Langkawi Geopark

By Marzieh Fallah - Malaysian Correspondent

Located in the northwestern corner of Malaysia, Langkawi Geopark is the first geopark in Southeast Asia under the banner of the UNESCO global geopark network. It includes 99 islands and geologically, represents the Paleozoic sedimentary sequence in Malaysia, from the Cambrian (540 to 490 million years ago) to the Permian (290-250 million years ago) period. These geoforest parks also protect biodiversity in various habitats comprising mangroves, tidal flats, beaches, estuaries, coral reefs, caves, limestone and numerous harbours for life forms.

In 2007, UNESCO officially acknowledged the Langkawi archipelago as one of 94 globally renowned geoparks from 27 countries to be recognised for its natural beauty, ecological harmony and archaeological, geological and cultural significance. Since 1987, when Langkawi was declared as a duty-free island, its development has been accelerated through investment in hospitality, restaurants and bars, yacht building and marine industries. Natural heritage is playing an important role in expanding the range of traditional industries in the region – those based on farming and fishing. Local cultural activities also contribute to the tourism offerings of Langkawi Island.