Tourforce - Tourism is your Business

Edition 141 ·

ASEAN Tourism 2020 Report

New Priority Destinations for Indonesia

Indonesia is in advanced planning stages to create five ‘Super Priority’ new resort destinations:

  • Lake Toba in North Sumatra – the largest crater lake in the world with significant attractions that include major trekking routes, cultural experiences, adventure experiences, wildlife tourism and agri-tourism;
  • Mandalika, West Nusa Tenggara – a stunning beach location, accessed via Lombok International Airport, sites for religious and cultural tourism, marine tourism and adventure;
  • Borobudur, Central Java – World’s largest Buddhist monument, Javanese culture, accessed via Yogyakarta International Airport, incentive schemes for investment to achieve a world-class destination;
  • Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara – nine thematic pathways, forests, coastal/beaches, marine, adventure, religious, heritage, tradition and rural tourism. This destination has been tagged by the Indonesian President to be a ‘super premium’ destination;
  • Likupang, North Sulawesi – white sand beaches, diving, local cuisine and wildlife. Accessed via Manado International Airport. Developing the creative economy is a big focus.

Indonesia is positioning it’s tourism industry to follow quality rather than quantity tourism numbers. Revenue and return on investment will become the focus. The creative economy will play an important role in this objective.

Image: Mr Wisnu Bawa Tarunajaya of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy addressing the media conference at Brunei ATF 2020

ASEAN Ministers Seek Single Destination

At the recent Brunei ASEAN Tourism Forum, ASEAN Tourism Ministers received updates on progress in the implementation of seven strategic action programmes to ensure ASEAN’s competitiveness as a single tourism destination, namely:

  • Intensifying promotion and marketing;
  • Diversifying tourism products;
  • Attracting tourism investments;
  • Raising capacity and capability of human capital;
  • Implementing and expanding connectivity and destination infrastructure; and
  • Enhancing travel facilitation
Image: ASEAN Tourism Ministers take questions from the assembled international media at the ATF 2020 Brunei 

Quality Before Quantity – comment by Tony Charters AM, Editor Tourforce

Multiple destinations at the ASEAN Tourism Forum outlined a renewed focus on quality and yield above pure growth in visitor numbers. In what seems to be a response driven partly from cases of ‘overtourism,’ destinations are realising that a race for visitor number growth may indeed be a self-defeating objective. There are many examples where stunning beach, island, marine and heritage sites have been marketed and hyped to such an extent that they risk the long established of fate of ‘death by a thousand cuts.’

Quality locations and experiences are special and they deserve special treatment. This may include a premium price in order to invest in the ongoing sustainability of the destination. It may include number caps. It may involve the development of alternative destinations – many of whom suffer from ‘under-tourism.’

It is worth examining how other industries deal with premium products. Do you see authentic Rolex watches selling the same price as a mass produced watch? Do you see prestige German cars sold for the same price as mass produced vehicles? Are five-star lodges sold for the same room rate as backpacker lodges? The answer to these questions is obvious. Then why is it that we ‘sell’ destination values as if they all share the same quality or appeal? High value destinations require an investment in their sustainability and should be priced to achieve this.

It is very encouraging to see ASEAN destinations moving down the path of valuing ‘quality’ and the protection of the long-term value of these sites.


Image: Tony Charters AM, Editor of Tourforce attended the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Brunei January 2020

Top Stories


U.K.-based start-up calling itself the ‘Airbnb of luggage storage’ is offering travellers short-term bag storage at locations around the world. Stasher partners with local shops, hotels, restaurants and other venues while each item left at a ‘stashpoint’ is insured against damage, loss and theft.

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Etihad Airways recently operated a special ‘eco-flight’ from Abu Dhabi to Brussels designed to illustrate the airline’s broad commitment to sustainable practices. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft followed an optimised flight route facilitated by Eurocontrol to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. A range of other initiatives were also undertaken including fuel optimisation measures and other actions in collaboration with cabin service suppliers.

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Inspired by Nature

Airbus has unveiled a project inspired by the design and production of materials, structures and systems inspired by nature (biomimicry) to make a significant impact on reducing emissions in the aviation industry. Fello’fly aims to demonstrate the technical, operational and commercial viability of two aircraft flying together for long-haul flights – mimicking the flight techniques of migrating birds. Airbus is due to commence flight tests with two of its A350 aircraft in 2020.

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Product Development

Wine Trails Project

South Australia’s Limestone Coast and South-West Victoria have launched a new map-based tourism website which allows visitors to discover the region’s vast array of experiences with the added ability to ‘build-your-own-adventure’ based on the user’s interests. The ‘Mixed Dozen’ Wine Trails Project connects seven local regions by acting as a digital itinerary planning tool that links multiple wine and tourism attractions.

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Bike Glendhu

The South Island’s newest mountain biking adventure park has opened on Glendhu Station near Wanaka. Bike Glendhu will feature 35 kilometres of trails over 1000 hectares designed and built by Tom Hey and his Queenstown-based company Elevate Trail Building, with the support of Wanaka-based crew Dirt Dynamics.

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Responsible Tourism

Hike the World

One of Australia’s leading operators for international walks, RAW Travel, is giving two winners the opportunity to travel the globe as ‘trail testers’ of iconic walks. This Hike the World competition is free to enter for Australian and New Zealand residents 18 years and over. RAW Travel specialises in self-guided walks that ensure minimal footprint, maximum immersion in nature and culture, and real opportunities for self-challenge. Entries close 30 April 2020.

Further information:

Animal Welfare Guidelines

The British Travel Association in partnership with ANIMONDIAL has published the 2nd Edition of their Animal Welfare Guidelines to help travel businesses and tourism boards identify and follow appropriate practices. ANIMONDIAL is a specialist in animal welfare, environmental education and corporate partnership providing impartial advice to reduce the negative impact of tourism on animals and the natural environment.

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Ink Hotel

Next Story Group have expanded their portfolio with the launch of new property, Ink Hotel Melbourne Southbank. The new hotel is aimed at younger travellers with a funky communal area and an engaged team of hosts. Located on City Road in the heart of Melbourne’s Southbank waterfront, the new 162-room hotel is conveniently positioned to allow guests to make the most of their next trip to Melbourne.

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Protected Areas

Kalbarri Skywalk

The Kalbarri Skywalk is due to open in early 2020 featuring two 100m-high skywalks at one of its highest points of the Murchison River Gorge. The universally accessible site will also include an environmentally friendly kiosk that will operate on low to nil emissions with an off-the-grid energy/power system. There will also be toilets, shade shelters, and improved road and tourism infrastructure.

Further information:


Destination Marketing

Holiday Here This Year

Tourism Australia has launched a new domestic tourism campaign urging Australians to plan, book and take a domestic holiday and share their experiences with friends and online. Supported through a $20 million government funding boost, the Holiday Here This Year campaign forms part of a coordinated marketing push involving all states and territories that to galvanise the tourism industry and Australians into supporting local communities impacted by the recent bushfires campaign. It will be rolled out across print, social media, billboards, content partnerships, radio and outdoor advertising.

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Indigenous Tourism

Year of Indigenous Tourism

2020 has been announced as the Year of Indigenous Tourism in Queensland with a range of support available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism businesses to further develop their experiences and grow their business. Tourism businesses around the state can get involved with the Year of Indigenous Tourism by promoting Indigenous experiences that visitors can explore in their region.

Further information:–the-year-of-indigenous-tourism

Climate Change

Tourism Declares

Tourism Declares is a collective of tourism industry businesses, organisations and individuals that are banding together to take action against climate change. Intrepid is a founding member and has been carbon neutral since 2010, and in 2020 became climate positive meaning it offsets more carbon than it emits through its trips and operations. The company also aims to transition to 100% renewable energy in its offices by 2025 and on all its trips by 2030.

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Infrastructure & Investment

Rottnest Island Infrastructure Boost

Rottnest Island is set to receive funding under the Federal Government’s Tourism Icons program to support the installation of tourism infrastructure and upgrading of amenities at the island’s remote West End. The project will include new shelters, seating, access pathways and viewing platforms with work expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Further information:


Global Business Travellers Survey

According to a first-of-its-kind global survey almost three quarters of business travellers say trying to complete everything on their to-do lists distracts them from focusing on what is important, holding them back instead of propelling them towards success. The research from Marriott Hotels surveyed 7,588 business travellers aged between 25 and 54 years across nine global markets including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, Germany, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Further information:

Tourism Investment Monitor

Tourism Research Australia’s Tourism Investment Monitor 2019 reports on the number and value of significant projects in Australia’s tourism investment pipeline. In 2018–19, the tourism investment pipeline comprised 248 projects worth $45.3 billion across the key tourism infrastructure areas including arts and recreation, aviation and accommodation.

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Policy & Planning

Tourism Recovery Package

The Australian Government has announced a $76 million tourism recovery package as part of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund to help get tourists travelling again. The package includes increased funding for domestic and international marketing, Tourism Australia’s International Media Hosting Program, the Australian Tourism Exchange, regional tourism events initiative and mobilisation of global diplomatic network.

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Sustainability Commitment

The New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment aims to see every New Zealand tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025. Tourism businesses are invited to sign up and adopt 14 commitments that will ensure a sustainable tourism industry supporting host communities, contributing to restoring, protecting and enhancing the natural environment for domestic and international travellers.

Further information:

Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

As part of the activities of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative aims to articulate, support and scale-up action by tourism stakeholders and is building a global alliance to fight plastic pollution. It is being led by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Tourism Organisation in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The initiative will support partner organisations in making better use of plastics in their operations and reducing plastic waste.

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Global Travel Awards

The Global Travel Media Alliance has unveiled the inaugural Global Travel Awards 2020 which will honour the best global travel writer, photographer and communicator. They are a collaboration between the Society of American Travel Writers, the British Guild of Travel Writers and the Australian Society of Travel Writers. Judging will be by an independent panel of top travel editors, photographers, and PR professionals. Entries close 28 February 2020.

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Best Sustainable Tourism Films

The 7th Annual Short-Film Showcase will feature the best sustainable tourism films from around the globe at ITB Berlin 2020. GLP Films an award-winning content marketing agency is inviting all travel trade organisations (destinations, brands, operators, hotels, media, etc) to submit their best videos that support the message of responsible or sustainable tourism. Submission deadline is 26 February 2020.

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Certification & Accreditation

Eco-Certified Destination

The Port Douglas Shire in Northern Queensland has become the first in the world to achieve Ecotourism Australia’s ECO Destination Certification Nature Destination level after first signing up for the certification program in 2018. The certification program was created in partnership with Green Destinations an international non-profit foundation for sustainable tourism whose standards are accredited and recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

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Conferences & Events

Destination Australia Conference

The annual Destination Australia Conference will be held in Adelaide on 12 March 2020. The conference is tailor-made for Australian tourism businesses serious about attracting high yield international travellers and discussing important tourism marketing questions. Last year it attracted 350 of Australia’s most influential tourism leaders.

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Wellness Tourism Summit

Australia’s first Wellness Tourism Summit is taking place in Noosa, Queensland from 19-20 March 2020. Tourism Australia is partnering with the Global Wellness Institute to deliver the event with over 30 leading global and local wellness travel experts presenting the latest research, consumer trends and best practice for operators and destinations.

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