Tony Charters and Associates Tourforce

Tony Charters and Associates releases a regular newsletter Tourforce keeping stakeholders of the tourism industry connected with current issues, research, events and funding opportunities.

Reproduction of any items from Tourforce is welcome, with acknowledgement of the source.

Welcome to Tourforce Edition 9


Competitive Advantage – Join the Dots

I have just returned from the World Travel and Tourism Summit in Dubai where Ecotourism Australia was awarded the prestigious international Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award. Coming on the heels of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s win last year for the Destination category this is a truly amazing performance.

The significance of these awards should not be understated – there are just four categories and there were well over 150 nominations from around the globe.

Ecotourism Australia was recognised for its pioneering role in the development of the nature tourism and ecotourism sector in Australia and for its role in influencing global ecotourism. In particular the EcoCertification scheme and the Ecoguide schemes were given special mention.

As one of the founding Directors of Ecotourism Australia I am very proud and humbled that its work has achieved such global recognition.

The two consecutive wins by innovative Australian organisations provides more than a little insight into how Australia can achieve a Competitive Advantage within this increasingly globalised industry – a topic which is the total focus of this year’s Tourism Futures Conference.

The staging of the World Tourism Summit in Dubai provided a sharp contrast with the destination attributes of Australia. With Dubai’s amazing growth rate, literally thousands of new hotel rooms being build every year, theme parks the scale of which have never before been contemplated, new shopping malls of enormous proportions and numerous new event facilities across a myriad of sports, leisure and cultural pursuits it is hard to imagine a greater contrast. The scale of development is staggering. But think about Dubai even 10-15 years ago, it was a small desert city with few positive tourism destination attributes.

What Dubai had (and still has) is vision and a commitment to invest in this vision – turning a desert into a global hub and tourism playground. Yes Dubai has access on its side – seven hours from Europe, seven hours to Asia, but weighed against that were so many things – an extremely hot climate, frequent dust storms, lack of water, lack of biological diversity, no traditional tourism base.

So what is the vision for Australian tourism? How do we move Australia off travellers’ wish list and onto their ticked list? We know Australia is a highly desirable destination. The global industry recognises Australia’s leading role in destination management and sustainability. How do we connect the dots?

This year’s Tourism Futures Conference coming up in June will devote considerable energy to this very topic. I urge operators, policymakers and players in tourism related businesses to attend Tourism Futures and place their business front and centre in the development of this vision.

Tony Charters
Tourism Workshops
Highly Interactive Tourism Workshops

Numbers are limited for a series of tourism workshops taking place in June which ensures an intimate and dynamic forum for everyone's ideas to be heard. Everyone attending seminars will enjoy the opportunity to fully engage in the discussion and bounce ideas off some of our industry's brightest stars.

Further information:

Spotlight on International Tourism Speakers
Blockbuster Marketing Speaker for Tourism

“Evolving Dynamics Influencing Traveller, Supplier and Intermediary Connections”

Leading US tourism industry guru, Philip Wolf, President of renowned market analyst PhoCusWright - will address and take part in several workshops and seminars over three days at the Gold Coast.

“It’s no trade secret that consumers are embracing new technology,” says Mr Wolf who founded PhoCusWright in 1994; the organisation has a formidable international reputation, being at the forefront of consumer trends, research an industry innovation for the tourism industry. The giant leaps being made in technology are rapidly changing the landscape for the tourism industry and PhoCus Wright is the most respected authority in the industry coming out of the United States.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Tuesday 3 June 2008 - 11.30 – 12.00 noon

Lunch with Azran Osman-Rani

Azran Osman-Rani, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X, a new airline based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focused on providing long-haul low-cost services including to the Gold Coast, Australia.

Prior to his appointment, Azran was Senior Director of Business Development of Astro All Asia Networks plc, a leading Asian digital satellite television and radio broadcaster, where he led the start-up and operational launch of Astro’s international investments and joint ventures across Southeast Asia, India and Greater China – having oversight management responsibility for a portfolio of over US$300 million invested in these businesses.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Tuesday 3 June 2008 - 12.30 – 1.30 pm – Lunch Speaker

Azran was formerly an Associate Partner of McKinsey & Company, an international management consultancy, where he co-led its Asia Pacific Corporate Finance & Strategy practice.

He holds a Masters degree in Management Science and a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering, both from Stanford University. He is a competitive Ultimate Frisbee player.

Who Has the Competitive Edge?

Grant Bowie, formerly President and General Manager of Wynn Resorts (Macau) for the period 2003-2007, provided the leadership and operational direction for the development and operation of the property. Mr Bowie spent sixteen years in senior management positions in Australia including President of the Australian Casino Association and Chairman of the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau.

Grant Bowie is an Adjunct Professor in Tourism and Leisure Management, University of Queensland and maintains close relationships with a number of universities in Australia, New Zealand, United States, Macau and Hong Kong.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Tuesday 3 June 2008 - 2.00 - 2.30 pm – Competitive Edge

Bryant is a Genuine Rarity


Nick Bryant was educated in UK, studying Architecture and Modern History at Cambridge, completed a PhD in American politics. He joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1994, becoming the BBC’s South Asia correspondence in 2003.

Stories include the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin; the signing of the Good Friday Agreement; the impeachment of Bill Clinton; the disputed 2000 presidential election; the Washington sniper killings; the attacks of September 11 and their aftermath; the SARS outbreak in Canada; the Bam earthquake; Afghanistan’s first presidential election; the Asian Tsunami; the Pakistan earthquake, the slide towards civil war in Sri Lanka and the Nepal’s “Ringroad Revolution’.

He has reported from Ground Zero in New York; Guantanamo Bay; the Line of Control in Kashmir; the DMZ on the Korean peninsula; the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan; Rwanda; Gaza, Russia; Israel; Egypt; Tanzania; Japan; Argentina; and China.

He loves cricket, football, rugby, mountain-bike riding and eating.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Tuesday 3 June 2008 - 3.45 – 4.00 pm
Report Back from Industry Leaders’ Summit

US Trend Expert “Mr Cool” Heats Up Tourism Conference

Tomorrow Today: The five social trends that will propel Australian travel into the next decade

Cutting edge tourism guru, Daniel Levine, presents his view on the five social trends that will propel Australian travel into the next decade. What is the latest, hippest and coolest.

Daniel is a widely-acclaimed author, trends guru and travel marketing expert, and a frequent guest on international TV and radio programs. As a consultant, he “connects the dots” of emerging social trends for clients ranging from Samsonite MasterCard. As the Executive Director of the Avant-Guide Institute in New York City, he helps international travel industry leaders reach their target markets.

He has been hailed as a “genius” by Elle magazine and “the ultimate guru of cool” by CNN, and an author of over 20 bestselling travel books. He is the hands-on leader of an international team of journalist “coolhunters” who endlessly scour the globe chronicling the latest ideas, trends and experiences, and he is often sought to consult with leading international travel-related companies

“No matter their age, everyone wants to be ‘cool’ and make ‘cool’ choices about their lifestyle,” says Levine. “It is important that businesses understand trends that are driving their customers in order to make the most of their business opportunities”.

Having cut his teeth writing the legendary Europe on $50-a-day guide books, Daniel Levine has built a luminous career consulting with major travel industry players, publishing bestselling guidebooks, and producing travel television for HBO and NBC, and has become a highly respected industry commentator.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Tuesday 3 June 2008 - 4.30 - 5.00 pm

Design Your Own Conference
Tailor-made Conference

Day 1 and Day 3 of Tourism Futures are completely flexible. Tailor the workshops and sessions to your own interests and business needs. You will meet the people who can help take your business to the next level.

“If you attend only one conference this year, make sure it is Tourism Futures – the last conference was undoubtedly the best, most relevant and informative tourism conference myself and other normally conference-weary colleagues have attended in over 25 years in the tourism industry.” Jude Franks, Jude Franks Consulting Tourism, Management and Marketing Consultants.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
For a full program and registration visit:

Tourism Research
Grey Nomads are Tourism Darlings
It’s not Paris Hilton and the glamour set jetting into town, but the sight of mum and dad packing up the ‘van that has the tourism industry swooning.

The latest industry survey conducted in the lead up to the pre-eminent Tourism Futures conference (2-4 June) by Roy Morgan Research found nearly 40 per cent of the industry identified Grey Nomads or senior tourism as the best opportunity for growth in the next 12 months

Despite 21 per cent of those surveyed also expressing concerns about the price of fuel and its effect on drive tourism, many are still relying on our generation of baby boomers to keep the industry buoyant.

“Higher interest rates are generally good news for retirees with savings in the bank,” says Tourism Futures convenor, Tony Charters. “And while petrol prices are definitely an issue, the industry is obviously championing our older Australians and they can also be a great source of short-time labour too.

With the Australian tourism industry facing significant challenges at present with both inbound and domestic visitor numbers sagging the Tourism Futures conference will examine how to maximise the current opportunities. Broader issues including marketing trends, aviation policies, climate change and technological innovations are among the agenda items to be discussed.

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008

The Future of Domestic Tourism

Tourism Research Australia has released a report - Through the Looking Glass: The Future of Domestic Tourism, which looks at the generational change in Australia and forecasts the potential impacts on the domestic tourism market.

Further information:

International Resort for Townsville

International developer and construction company Laing O’Rourke has unveiled plans for a new $80 million multi-level resort condominium and residential building in Townsville to be managed by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts. Plans for the site include resort style apartments, lagoon pool and landscaping, 24-hour reception and tour desk, gymnasium, private boardroom, ground floor restaurant and retail outlets. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2009.

Further information:


Reefs, Wetlands, Islands and Alpine Areas – Vulnerable

Tourism as an industry is highly exposed to the impacts of Climate Change. Many of the climate hotspots are critical tourism destinations – reefs, wetlands, alpine, coasts and islands.

Aviation as a sector has been targeted by environmental activists and consumer awareness of climate change is at extraordinary levels. This forum doesn’t dwell on the science or the case for change – that is accepted. The focus will be responding to climate change – what is the consumer demanding? What practical responses can tourism operators take? How can the negatives of climate change be turned onto business and environmental gains?

Tourism Futures National Conference 2008
Monday 2 June 2008
DAY 1 Forums
Australian Protected Areas Congress 2008
2008 is the Centenary of Parks in Queensland. Part of the celebration involves the Environmental Protection Agency running a major conference that we have titled the Australian Protected Areas Congress 2008 (APAC08). The congress will be held at Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast from 24-28 November 2008.

APAC08 will be a major conference that for the first time brings together the leading practitioners and theorists in protected area design, management and research from across Australia. The congress represents a unique opportunity for government, research institutions and NGOs to communicate and share the most up-to-date approaches and thinking about protected areas.

APAC08 will operate under the overall title of:

Australian Protected Areas Congress 2008 – Protected areas in the century of change

The congress will focus on the values, benefits and contemporary and future importance of protected areas for humankind in Australia. Terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas will all be considered.

Tourism will feature as an important theme throughout the congress.

The conference is hosted by the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with WWF, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, Tourism Queensland and the University of Queensland.

First call for abstracts will close 5 May. Early bird registration is open until 15 August.

For up to date information on the speakers program, registrations, lodging abstracts and field trips, visit

Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will be held at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, Canada from 27 to 29 October, 2008. The conference will provide an opportunity for business leaders, travel and tourism professionals and community members to gain knowledge of the latest trends and key challenges facing ecotourism and sustainable tourism. The program will also incorporate innovative case studies and strategies for sustainable tourism development in the U.S. and Canada. Deadline for speaker applications is 15 May 2008.

Further information:

Product Development

Execugifts Launches Exciting New Enviro Brand
Award-winning promotional products company, Execugifts, announced the launch of a brand-new division under the name of “Envirogifts” at the Asia Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) held recently in Melbourne .

This new division will specialise in offering a range of environmentally responsible products for the Business Tourism and corporate sector. The Execugifts launch at AIME was particularly relevant as the tradeshow itself aimed to set a new Climate Neutral™ benchmark for exhibitions held in Australia.

The Envirogifts slogan “Environmentally Responsible” refers to products that provide reduced waste, are reusable and durable, energy efficient, free from hazardous ingredients and not resourced from environmentally sensitive regions. All products in the Envirogifts range are required to feature one or more of these characteristics.

Execugifts, who have been operating in the Australasian promotional products marketplace for over 12 years, have forged a joint venture with high profile UK-based conference merchandise company, Nexus Collections. Nexus have undertaken significant research into sourcing the world’s greenest range of conference bags and Execugifts now has the sole rights for distribution of these products in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.

Execugifts has also become the first Australian member of the highly respected international organisation, The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). This organisation, which was formed in 2003, aims to improve meeting management practices by promoting environmentally responsible strategies and the establishment of the Envirogifts range is a shining example of how this can be achieved.
Allan Dawson, joint Director of Execugifts said, “We anticipate that this new chapter in the Execugifts story will reconfirm our status as market leader in the promotional products industry in Australasia. We appreciate that we need to be constantly vigilant regarding marketplace changes and trends in order to not only address our clients’ requirements but also remain competitive. We hope that the Envirogifts range will meet new industry demand for more environmentally friendly products and will also enable us to play our small part in assisting the industry to minimize any negative impact on the environment.”

Further information:

Quarantine Tourism


Q Station, the former Quarantine Station located five minutes from Manly in the bushland of Sydney Harbour National Park was used for over 150 years as a temporary facility for ill migrants before settling permanently in Australia. The site alongside the Sydney Opera House has been classified as part of the National Estate and has recently undergone an $18 million restoration including conference and accommodation facilities.

Further information:

V Australia Airlines


Australia’s newest International Airline - V Australia, has announced daily direct flights between Sydney and Los Angeles starting December 2008. The new airline will offer the latest in-flight technology connectivity throughout all cabins so guests are able to send and receive SMS text messages and emails using BlackBerrys® and mobile phones. The airline will base its 777 pilot and cabin crew training in Sydney at an overall investment worth at least $44-million.

Further information:


Inland NSW Tourism Awards – An Opportunity for all Tourism and Event Businesses
This years CountryLink Inland NSW Tourism Awards is off to a great start. A new website hosts all the information any business will need about entering these awards and attending the Gala Dinner. The Central NSW town of Parkes is the host for this year’s dinner to be held on the 26th July 2008.

Now in its 5th year, all tourism events, businesses, associations and volunteer organisations are encouraged to enter to be recognised for their tireless efforts throughout the year. Tourism continues to contribute more to the NSW economy some of the biggest industries in Australia.

By entering the Inland Tourism Awards, they have the opportunity to progress to State and possibility the National Awards. Winners receive great publicity and recognition as well as the ability to use the INTA logo on merchandise and marketing material.


Photo courtesy of Outback Regional Tourism Organisation

Submission Workshops – Attend one of the four workshops that the Tourism Industry Council and INTA are organizing for all entrants. These sessions will assist in either the Inland Awards or the NSW Tourism Awards. Sessions are being held at Wagga 5 May, Tamworth 7 May, Dubbo 8 May and Broken Hill – TBC.

Mentors are available to assist you if you are unable to attend the workshop sessions. All submissions are due Friday 23 May 2008.

INTA’s Gala Dinner – This year’s awards dinner will be held in Parkes, at the Parkes Leagues Club on Saturday 26 July 2008.

For Key Dates and all Award submission information go to

Global Tourism Summit

Tony Charters attended the Summit in Dubai 20-22 April as a judge of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. A record 1100 delegates attended including the CEO’s and Presidents of many of the World’s leading tourism and travel companies.


Organised in the round – a signature component of the event, the Summit format consisted of scene setting keynotes by the like of JW Marriott Jr and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman of Carlson – a global group of integrated tourism related companies operating in 150 countries.





Key issues emerging form the Summit included: the need for leadership within the industry; sustainability challenges; skills shortages and the importance of the industry to poverty alleviation and economic growth.

“The issues emerging from the Summit further underline the globalisation of tourism – this could have been a summary of an Australian tourism Summit.” said Tony.

Apart from his formal role with the Summit as a Judge of the Awards, Tony uses the event as a sounding board, of issues being raised and to seek out great international keynote speakers for Tourism Futures 2009.

Protected Areas
Expressions of Interest

The 54km Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk is now open, linking the scenic Lamington National Park and Springbrook Plateau via the Numinbah Valley. Queensland Parks and Wildlife is calling for expressions of interests from commercial tour operators, community groups or individuals who wish to conduct commercial bushwalking activities on the Great Walk. Submissions close 2pm Friday 16 May 2008.

Eco Fund for National Parks

Queensland will increase its National Park estate by 50% by 2020 with the area under protection rising from 7.6-million hectares to around 12 million hectares. The expansion will be paid for by an innovative Australian-first green fund. Eco Fund Queensland will allow investment from the government, private companies and in time interstate and overseas entities. The fund will be up and running by 1 January 2008 and the State Government has already committed to offset emissions of plane travel and Q-Fleet vehicles.

Further information:
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Smart Guide to Sustainable Travel

A second edition of the popular SmartGuide to Sustainable Travel in the Americas has been released by the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance. The guide contains 206 listings and is a useful resource for tourists, travel agencies and tour operators with descriptions, locations, contact information and the certification level of each hotel, restaurant and tour operator. The guide will be distributed at national and international tourism trade shows, as well as at conferences and workshops.

Further information:

MP3 Tours

United Kingdom walking tour specialist Tourist Tracks has introduced four new MP3 tours including a tour of London Bridge created in partnership with the London Bridge Business Improvement District Company. Tourist Tracks is the brainchild of a former journalist and veteran of the travel trade who saw an opportunity for downloadable MP3 audio tours in the UK. Tourist Tracks works with tourist information centres on a revenue-share basis, complementing existing guided tours and generating revenue for councils.

Further information:

Funding for Rainforest Research

The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is providing organisations or individuals with the opportunity to access up to $5,000 for PhD and masters projects, and up to $2,000 for honours projects. In 2007, the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation provided $25,000 to support several student research projects. Applications will be assessed by representatives from Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, James Cook University, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Deadline for submissions is 16 May 2008

Further information:

Best Practice
"Freshen Up Charge” Will Apply to Smokers
Ibis Perth Hotel today announced it would become a completely smoke-free Hotel from March 31, 2008 - in line with tough new government regulations that have been introduced, and to meet customers’ demands.

Regional Manager for Accor in Western Australia, Llewellyn Wyeth believes it will solve the growing problem for the hotel, of guests who demand a non-smoking room or even floor, when the hotel is at very high occupancies, that cannot always be guaranteed. He estimates up to 98% of customers now ask for non-smoking rooms.
A "freshening" charge will apply to anyone who smokes in the hotel from March 31 to restore the room's freshness for the next guest.

Not only the guest rooms are exempt from the smell of nicotine, the new Rubix Bar and Cafe, which is partly al-fresco will also be smoke free, as will be conference rooms, and other public areas.

"We try to make our guest's visit the most comfortable as we possibly can," says
Mr Wyeth. "This is one aspect we can improve on, and we will provide a fresh, clean and healthy room for all our customers, and continue to provide the top level of service, that makes us one of the most popular economy hotels in Perth's CBD."

Further information:

Green Globe for Novotel

The Novotel hotel group has announced that by 2010, 400 of its properties across 61 countries will have been certified under the Green Globe benchmarking and certification program specifically for the travel and tourism industry. The program is managed by Brisbane based EC3 Global the commercialization and adaptation division of the Sustainable Tourism Co-Operative Research Centre, whose research program is overseen by 17 of Australia’s leading universities.

Further information: