Tony Charters and Associates

Edition 87 - April 2015

Circulated to 10,000 Professionals Worldwide

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The Six Friends Theory

Mercure has launched 'The Six Friends Theory,' a worldwide social media campaign to check the well-known six-degrees-of-separation theory. The international casting call which took place in January and February 2015 saw almost 400 candidates from all over the world post a one minute video in a bid to win. The winner will follow an itinerary connecting the home locations of the five friends to an Aboriginal of the Bundjalung tribe in Australia. Mercure is the midscale brand of Accor with a network which spans 711 hotels in 52 countries around the globe.

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Tripadvisor GreenLeaders takes T4T Award

Tripadvisor's GreenLeaders programme took out the Innovation Award in the 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards last week at the Global Tourism Summit in Madrid. The GreenLeaders program promotes green practices to TripAdvisor's 300 million plus unique monthly users. It is the first large scale green hotel programme to be truly accessible for all types of accommodation properties. It is free to use for all businesses, and guest users can access a complete list of a property's green practices, review them and provide feedback. This programme has the potential to mainstream sustainability amongst consumers and create a sea change in the industry.

Other finalists in the innovation category were Mexico's RED Sustainable Travel and ABTA's Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism program.

Tony Charters AM has been a judge and verification reviewer for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards since 2004.

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Since launching in 2013, the Stayful bargaining platform has been a place for customers to negotiate room rates for unsold spots at independent and boutique hotels. Their latest venture, Tweetstay, is a travel agent which acts as negotiator between consumers in need of a room at the last minute and independent hotels with beds to fill. The service can currently accommodate requests for trips to 24 US cities including Los Angeles, New York City and Houston.

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Moxy Hotels

The new lifestyle brand Moxy Hotels is being rolled out by Marriott International after research showed the next-generation (millennial) of travellers is being underserved by its competitors. The Marriott for Millennials has playful living rooms with free Wi-Fi, a full-service bar, 24-hour self-service cafe and classic games sized for giants such as Jenga and Connect Four. It is designed to compete with traditional economy hotels by offering affordable prices along with sleek, industrial-inspired design and comfort. Marriott plans to open more than 100 Moxy hotels over the next decade in the United States, Europe and United Kingdom.

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Instagram for Tourism e-Kit

The Tourism e-kit has launched a new tutorial, Instagram for Tourism. The tutorial explains how to set up an Instagram account and provides tips on how to use it to promote tourism products and experiences. The Tourism e-kit is produced by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and is a collection of tutorials designed to help tourism operators learn how to do business online.

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Attenborough Reef

David Attenborough has returned to the Great Barrier Reef as part of a new multi-platform media project. The three-part documentary series aims to leverage the global exposure by utilising the unique video, digital, print and PR assets to drive visitation to the Great Barrier Reef. Atlantic Productions is a world leading factual production company who have won BAFTAs, Emmys and other industry awards. The production with David Attenborough is expected to air early in 2016 with distribution across more than 130 countries.

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World Heritage Passport

The Korea Tourism Organization has launched a new online campaign to encourage more Australian and New Zealand travellers to visit Korea in 2015. The campaign offers travellers the opportunity to take advantage of a complimentary Korea UNESCO World Heritage passport and T-Money card. Packages include a guide, map and 10,000 Korean won transport card which allows travellers access to Korea's UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Changdeok Palace, Jongmyo Royal Shrine and Suwon's Hwaseong Fortress.

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Northern Self-Drive

Drive North Queensland, in partnership with the Britz and Maui, have launched a marketing campaign to increase awareness about Tropical North Queensland's self-drive experiences, as well as dispersing people throughout the region and encouraging them to stay longer via itineraries and events. Other campaign partners include accommodation booking site, Trip Advisor, Jetstar, Tigerair and Spotify.

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Cruise Critic

The world's largest online cruise resource has launched a new website to provide cruise information specific to Australian cruisers. Cruise Critic is an online review site and community which offers a comprehensive resource for cruise travellers from first-timer to avid enthusiasts. Launched in 1995, it now helps more than four million people plan their cruise holidays every month with more than 100,000 cruise reviews, advice and tips on all aspects of cruising.

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Wine & Dine

A new campaign from Destination NSW and is showcasing Sydney and NSW's unique food and wine destinations. The Wine and Dine campaign involves bloggers visiting nine food and wine destinations across NSW and creating original content to share their experiences across a range of digital and social media channels.

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Green Night's Sleep

In a world-first, Online Travel Agent Book Different is revealing which hotels have a valid green certification and are also publishing carbon emissions for over half a million hotels. Each hotel will have an icon listing the number of kilos of CO2 emitted per night stayed and the carbon footprint is calculated by means of a mathematical formula developed by the Breda University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Dutch tourism sector as a part of the Carbon Management for Tour Operators project.

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Animal Welfare Guides

The Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism is the first report of its kind to establish guidelines for best practice across the broad range of animal interaction experiences. They provide specific advice on the treatment of animals in captive environments, wildlife viewing and working animals. The guidelines were developed in partnership with the Born Free Foundation including input from 200 individuals and organisations around the world.

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Rise of Food Tourism Report

Skift, in association with Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, have released a new Travel Trends Report on food tourism which provides the latest intelligence and is aimed at strategists, marketers and technologists in travel. The Rise of Food Tourism report highlights how destinations have leveraged the mainstream interest in food to open new consumer markets and drive business to regional travel suppliers working in the food sector.

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World National Parks Annual Visitors

According to the first comprehensive study of nature tourism in protected areas, the world's national parks and reserves receive around eight billion visitors a year. The study conducted by researchers at Cambridge, Princeton, New Jersey and Washington Universities attempted to answer the question of visitation to protected areas and the value in terms of tourist dollars. The database consists of figures for 550 sites worldwide which were then used to build equations that could predict visitation for a further 140,000 protected areas based on their size, remoteness and national income.

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State of the Cruise Industry

Cruise Lines International Association, the world's largest cruise industry trade association, has released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report for the cruise industry. In 2015, it is predicted 23 million passengers will sail with nearly 1,000 ports of call especially in the fast growing Asian market. Cruise lines are also scheduled to debut 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships for a total investment of more than $4 billion.

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TripBarometer Study

TripAdvisor has announced the results from the 2015 TripBarometer study which reveals worldwide travel trends at country, region and global levels. This report looks at the Global Travel Economy including traveller sentiments, spending trends, hotelier confidence levels and emerging hospitality trends across markets. Conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos, it is the world's largest accommodation and traveller survey analysing more than 44,000 global responses.

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The Future of Chinese Travel

Research published by Oxford Economics and funded by the InterContinental Hotel Group, shows that China will overtake the US, UK and Germany to become the largest market for long-haul travellers by 2020. The report reveals the scale of the opportunity for global travel destinations to benefit from shifting patterns in Chinese travel with London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo expected to benefit most. As demand matures, preferences will shift towards more expensive longer-haul trips contributing to significant increases in the value of Chinese travellers to local economies.

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Australia's International Tourism Industry

The Australian Productivity Commission has released a research paper which recognises the strong growth of Australia's tourism industry over the past two decades and highlights the need for investment for continued growth.

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Rest Area Guides

Main Roads of Western Australia, working with Tourism Western Australia, has updated the Rest Area Guide as part of implementing the Caravan and Camping Action Plan. The new guides can be downloaded from the website.

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In less than two years TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders sustainable hotel program has already become the largest such scheme in the world. The program showcases a variety of eco-friendly hotels from budget to luxury all committed to green practices like recycling, local and organic food and electric car charging stations. With a business model based on big data and nearly 8,000 properties already signed up in 21 countries, GreenLeaders may soon be one of the biggest drivers for sustainable tourism hitting the mainstream.

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World Legacy Awards

The winners of the 2015 National Geographic World Legacy Awards were announced at ITB Berlin. The awards showcase the leading companies, organisations and destinations ranging from hotels to ecolodges and from small islands to entire countries that are driving the positive transformation of the travel industry. More than 150 entries were received, representing 56 countries across six continents. Winners and finalists were selected by 18 international judges who undertook on-site inspections as part of the process.

Tony Charters AM was a judge in two categories of the Awards.

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PATA Gold Awards

Travel and Tourism industry organisations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions in promoting the travel industry in the Asia-Pacific region are encouraged to submit entries in the 2015 PATA Gold Awards. Sponsored by the Macau Government Tourist Office, the awards are judged by a panel of experts in seven categories with up to 29 Gold Awards and four Grand Awards on offer. Entries close 30 April 2015 and winners will be announced at the PATA Travel Mart on 8 September 2015 in Bangalore, India.

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Global Eco Seeking Island Managers

The 2015 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference is being staged on Rottnest Island, Western Australia, 17 - 19 November. The theme this year is Ecotourism - Navigating for Success.

With the extraordinary case study provided by Rottnest Island as both a protected area and a top tourism destination, the Conference will take a strong focus on ecotourism management on Islands. Convenor of the Global Eco conference, Tony Charters AM is looking for offered papers which address the challenges and opportunities of managing ecotourism on Islands. In particular, island national parks and protected areas.

To submit a paper, visit:

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SEGRA 2015 - Call for Contributions

Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia, SEGRA, provides a single forum in which people with a deep commitment to regional Australia can discuss issues and advance options and solutions for the future. Drawing over 200 delegates from across Australia, it is now recognised as the nation's most credible voice on issues affecting regional Australia.

The SEGRA National Steering Committee is seeking contributions for SEGRA 2015 being held in Bathurst, New South Wales from 20 - 22 October.

Further information:

View the 2015 Call for Contributions flyer:

Submit a contribution:

Adventure Travel World Summit

The 2015 Adventure Travel World Summit hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association will be held in Puerto Varas, Chile from 5 - 9 October 2015. The overall theme of the summit will see industry experts discuss the adventure revolution and its role in overall development of tourism.

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Destination Australia Conference

Presentations, photos, highlights and recordings from the inaugural Destination Australia Conference held in March 2015 are now online.

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Perak International Ecotourism Symposium 2015

By Marzieh Fallah - Malaysian Correspondent

Perak International Ecotourism Symposium (PIES) will be launched at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, Malaysia from 16 - 18 June 2015. An impressive line-up of speakers has been assembled for the event. International and local speakers including Tony Charters AM and Tengku Adlin will attend.

Tony was awarded an AM - Order of Australia for significant service to the ecotourism industry, particularly to nature-based recreation and to environmental education and visitor programs. He has been a pioneer in ecotourism planning and destination development. Tony has edited and co-edited a range of books which deal with ecotourism best practice, sustainable tourism, and private sector involvement in protected areas management.

Tengku Adlin is the Chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board since year 2000. He played a leading role in staging international adventure sports in Sabah, i.e. the Camel Trophy 1993, Eco Challenge 2000, Outdoor Quest (2003 - 2005), Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon 1987-2008, Skydive Borneo Boogie 2001, 2002, TM KL / Tun Mustapha Tower International Base Jump 2006, 2007, 2008, Sabah F2000 World Cup Powerboat Race 2007, among others. He is the author of numerous books and publications on conservation, nature and adventure.

This symposium helps to emphasis on the conservation of the natural resources and promotes ecotourism opportunities of Perak state to the world.

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Sustainable Food, Slow Food

By Sara Vitali - Italian Correspondent

Italy has always been recognised as the county with good food and Italian cuisine considered as one of the most delicious, simple and healthy cuisines.

Several years ago, consumers started to focus on health and sustainability.The Italian diet, can be considered Mediterranean. It is characterised by a great variety of simple, genuine and fresh produce. The increasing importance of sustainable food comes from a deeper knowledge of the consequences of food choices. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and as a result, bring about great change.

Carlo Petrini strongly believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. He founded Slow Food in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.

In over two decades, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognises the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today, Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries. Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

Passion for Science helps Kenyan Farmers Fight Climate Change

By Mary Mwendwa- African Correspondent

Born in the slopes of Aberdares, 61 years ago, Dr. Florence Wambugu, a plant pathologist and virologist, born scientist at heart, recalls how her early days were. "It used to disturb me when I saw that we did not have enough food on the table. I then developed a strong desire to change the situation in my own capacity when I grow up. This made me work hard to join university where I became a scientist," she says. Her passion for tissue Cultured Plant innovation has seen her transform the lives of Kenyan small holder farmers.

Dr. Wambugu's scientific journey set off while she was at University Nairobi as one of the few women to enroll at university in 1975, and then later joined KARI, now KALRO (Kenya Agricultural Research Organization), where she worked for 12 years. "It is here that I stumbled on the biotechnology of tissue culture where crops like bananas, pyrethrum, potatoes and cotton were under trials," Dr. Wambugu says."

Plant Tissue Culture is a collection of techniques used to maintain or grow plant cells, tissues or organs under sterile conditions on a nutrient culture medium of known composition. ''Tissue culture is all about getting clean, disease-free plants that are then multiplied, resulting in higher yield to farmers. Most farmers have the ability to handle seeds effectively hence this kind of innovation works for them very well." Dr. Wambugu asserts to the fact that science innovation in Agriculture has seen Kenyan Banana farmers outdo their counterparts in the East African region. "For example, Kisii County was the leading banana producer some time back, now. Meru have overtaken them by far. Meru leads and Kisii now ranks number seven. This was just reversed by Meru farmers who embraced tissue cultured bananas and have now topped the county in terms of production yields."