Tony Charters and Associates

Edition 99 - April 2016

Circulated to 10,000 Professionals Worldwide

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Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference - Call for Papers! 

The Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference, the premier event of Ecotourism Australia, is calling for papers relevant to the theme Ecotourism: Fostering Innovation – Sustaining Excellence.

The conference to be held 21 - 23 November 2016 in Hobart, Tasmania is in its 24th year -  the world’s most established ecotourism conference. It’s no coincidence that Global Eco attracts the world's best ecotourism operators, protected area managers and tourism professionals.

The theme focuses on the very fundamentals of ecotourism – pushing the boundaries to provide travellers with outstanding tourism experiences in a way that respects the environment, the local community and the culture of the destination.  It brings together the key players that can deliver on these fundamentals – the operators, the protected area managers the destination developers and the marketers.

"With 25 years of history (as the first National ecotourism body in the world) it is important to take stock and reflect on the growth of the industry. More importantly, there is a key responsibility to look 25 years into the future - to see how we may continue to pioneer and strive for excellence. Ecotourism is a business and it is growing across the globe at an extraordinary rate. So how do we maintain the focus on sustainability in a world that has very unequal access to technology? What is the role of innovation in overstepping limited access to technology?” said Conference Convenor, Tony Charters AM. 


Dead Attraction

Universal Studios Hollywood is bringing to life the most popular show in U.S. television history ‘The Walking Dead.’ The new attraction will be located within a custom built structure just inside the theme park’s main entry. The Golden Globe award-nominated series has been the #1 show on television among adults 18 - 49 for the last four years and most highly-rated show in U.S. cable television history.

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Wine Tourism Website

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs has launched a new website that promotes French wineries and vineyards. It aims to bring together public and private stakeholders around a territorial brand that offers a structured proposal to boost visitation by tourists from the USA, Asia and Europe. It is available in French and English.

Further information:

Wanderful Campaign

Visit Victoria has launched a new marketing campaign promoting regional Victoria. The $3 million Wander Victoria campaign is the first phase of a long-term strategy to rebuild Melburnians’ emotional connection with regional Victoria and increase short-breaks into the regions. The fully integrated campaign will be implemented across television, cinema, digital and social media channels in metro Melbourne and border towns.

Further information:


Virtual Reality Cruise

Cruiseabout has launched the first virtual reality cruise experience in collaboration with Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line Australia to provide users with a fully-immersive, 360 degree guided tour inside Voyager of the Seas and Carnival Spirit. The virtual reality vision is powered using cutting-edge Samsung VR headsets and will be featured at select Cruiseabout stores as well as online, Facebook and mobile devices.

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Cultural Routes and Itineraries

The World Tourism Organisation has published a Global Report on Cultural Routes and Itineraries providing key information about current trends and presenting case studies on the importance of protecting, preserving and conserving these itineraries. The report also highlights the positive impacts generated by these itineraries in terms of sustainability and benefits for local communities.

Further information:


Wellness Cruises

Swiss-based cruise company MSC Cruises in partnership with Technogym has introduced an exclusive Wellness Experience. Guests will be able to combine discovery and culture with their personal wellness goals to reinvigorate the body and soul. The experience features cutting-edge technology and state-of-art fitness facilities, a co-created food and beverage offering available throughout the day, exclusive shore activities as well as access whilst onboard to MSC Cruises Master Trainers certified by Technogym.

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Superhero Airline

Turkish Airlines has announced its partnership with Warner Bros Pictures on the action adventure film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The airline is unveiling innovative movie-themed experiences that give fans around the world an inside look into the world of the iconic Super Heroes. Drawing inspiration from the film, Turkish Airlines has created an array of experiences, beginning with an invitation for travellers to ‘book’ flights to two new U.S. destinations - Gotham City and Metropolis.

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Unbound Collection

Hyatt Hotels has announced the launch of a global collection of unique and independent stay experiences. The Unbound Collection by Hyatt will include a portfolio of new and existing upper-upscale and luxury properties that will maintain a distinct character while providing guests and owners Hyatt’s customer loyalty program, operational and marketing resources and quality brand.

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Accessible Accommodation

Accomable, a pioneering global platform promoting adapted hotels and holiday rentals for disabled and elderly people, has launched in Australia with plans to expand to more than 500 properties by the end of the year. The company has a presence in 34 countries and have partnered with Have Wheelchair Will Travel a website and active Facebook community for travellers with a disability in Australia.

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Eighth World Surfing Reserve

The Gold Coast has joined the prestigious network of World Surfing Reserves that includes Manly in NSW and six others in Europe, South and North America. The program was founded by California-based Save The Waves which proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding wave breaks, surf zones and surrounding environments around the world.

Further information:

Proposed Marine Park

Public comment is now open on plans for Western Australia’s largest marine park, the 1.8 million hectare proposed North Kimberley Marine Park. The creation of the marine park would be a significant milestone towards conserving the unique northern environment, while providing jobs and management opportunities for traditional owners and supporting growth in environmentally sustainable tourism. Public comment is open until 20 May 2016.

Further information:


Northern Australia Tourism Initiative

The $3.6 million Northern Australia Tourism Initiative is one of a suite of new programs announced in response to Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. The initiative will combine the Entrepreneurs’ Program with the Australian Small Business Advisory Services Program to meet the needs of tourism businesses in northern Australia.

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Socio-Economic Footprint Study

AccorHotels has published the findings of its first study into the group's socio-economic footprint. Conducted by EY, the study assessed not only the direct impacts of the company’s business activities, but also the impact within its supply chain and local economies across the 186 countries in which it has a presence. Findings suggest it sustains around 880,000 jobs (direct, indirect and induced) in three main sectors - corporate services, agriculture and public services.

Further information:


Economic Impact Report

A new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council highlights a small percentage of the world global tourism and travel companies have reported on their sustainability. The Environmental, Social
& Governance Reporting in Travel and Tourism: Trends, Outlook and Guidance report aims to provide a foundation for those companies seeking orientation and guidance on publicly reporting issues relating to sustainability, corporate responsibility, or environmental, social
and governance.

Further information:

Passenger Preferences Index

Expedia has released the results of the Expedia Passenger Preferences Index, a worldwide study that examined the preferences and behaviours of fliers on a country-by-country basis. The study surveyed 11,026 travellers across 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and South America. Respondents selected five items they felt they couldn’t live without on a flight which included water, a meal, a phone/mobile device, headphones and magazines or newspapers.

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Wine & Food Plan

The Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association in partnership with the South West Development Commission has launched its 'Your Margaret River Region Wine & Food Promotional Plan’. The plan aims to leverage the region's wine and food assets together with the Your Margaret River Region brand name to further grow the reputation of the region, increase trade opportunities and grow visitation.

Further information:


Travelife Program

The first Rainforest Alliance properties have joined the Association of British Travel Agents Travelife Program which has hotel members in 57 countries worldwide. Under an agreement signed in late 2014, all hotels and accommodations meeting Rainforest Alliance’s certification criteria can join Travelife and utilise the scheme's promotional channels. So far 15 hotels from six different countries across the Caribbean, Central and South America have become Travelife members as a part of the partnership.

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World Legacy Awards Winners

The winners of the 2016 National Geographic World Legacy Awards were recently announced at the ITB Berlin Convention. The awards showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organisations and destinations that are driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the travel industry. More than 100 entries, representing 51 countries across six continents were received. Tony Charters AM was a judge for the World Legacy Awards and undertook a number of site verification assessments.

Further information:

2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced at the WTTC Global Summit Awards Ceremony in Dallas on 7 April. The winners were:

  • Community Award Winner - Expediciones Sierra Norte, Pueblos Mancomunados Mexico
  • Destination Award Winner - Parkstad
    Limburg, Netherlands
  • Environment Award Winner - Wilderness Safaris, South Africa / Botswana
  • People Award - Youth Career Initiative,
    United Kingdom
  • Worldwide Innovation Award Winner - ‘Measuring Tourism’s Impact’ by PWC, Travel Foundation and TUI Group, United Kingdom.

Each year a group of independent judges from the private sector, academic institutions, non-profit organisations and government come together to select the Finalists and Winners of the Awards. The three-stage judging process is extremely rigorous and includes thorough on-site evaluations of all finalists. This year it involved 36 judges and over 60 days of work in the field.

David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC, says: “The 2016 winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are truly inspirational examples of tourism that has a long term vision. In a world of shrinking resources, with increasing pressure on cultural heritage and local traditions, these organisations are living proof that Travel & Tourism can be a force for good. These companies are showing clear leadership in the industry.”

Tony Charters AM Interview

Ecotourism expert Tony Charters AM is one of the longest standing judges for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) recently interviewed him about the sector he has worked in for many years, how he has seen it change and what makes the Tourism for Tomorrow finalists stand out.

Further information: :,41ZBB,72QJVI,EOH8L,1#3


Backpacker and Adventure Tourism Forum

A half-day backpacker and adventure tourism forum will be held in Cairns on 4 May 2016. Hosted by YHA, the event will feature key political, academic, travel and media experts who will discuss important issues facing the backpacker sector.

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International Coral Reef Conference

The 13th International Coral Reef Symposium will take place in Hawaii, later this year. This is the primary international meeting focused on coral reef science and management. It takes place from 19 - 24 June 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Corporate Responsibility in Tourism

The 16th BEST EN Think Tank will be held in Eberswalde, Germany from 12 -15 July 2016. The Think Tank entitled ‘Corporate Responsibility in Tourism - Standards, Practices and Polices’ will examine how corporate responsibility has evolved in this industry over the last 10 years.

Further information:


Kenya’s Lion Habitat Threatened by Development Projects

By Mary Mwendwa - African Correspondent

The recent killing of a 13-year-old lion which sparked outrage in Kenya and across social media channels was a clear indicator of how wildlife conservation in Kenya is valued by many.

The lion named Mohawk which was killed by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers was named for the shape of his mane and born in Nairobi National Park. The lion escaped and pounced on a man in a crowd in the town of Isinya.

It was not the first time a lion had strayed in residential setting and questions on how their habitat is being threatened by development projects arose.

According to Defenders of Wildlife, lions are facing an indirect threat from climate change called co-infection. Lions periodically face outbreaks of the disease distemper, and usually weather them with little mortality. However, distemper outbreaks in 1994 and 2001 caused massive die-offs. Researchers found that the key environmental factor in the 1994 and 2001 epidemics was the occurrence of a severe drought.