Tourforce - Tourism is your Business

Edition 142 ·

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Tourforce During COVID-19

In this extraordinarily confronting and damaging time in the tourism industry we will continue to publish Tourforce monthly. However, we will not seek to offer advice or updates on COVID-19,  as industry bodies and government bodies are best equipped to do this – with destination specific information.

We welcome short stories on innovations, and success stories and stories that reflect the positive things that the tourism industry is doing to ensure that the industry returns and re-builds. Submit stories to

We want to place on record our thanks to those in business, government, research and the not-for-profit sectors who are working to get us through this challenging time.

Ecotourism Australia Conference Heads to Margaret River in December

Ecotourism Australia’s 28th annual Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference will be held in Margaret River, Western Australia from 1 – 3 December 2020.

The event – the world’s longest running ecotourism conference – was last held in Western Australia, specifically Rottnest Island, in 2015. It was last held in Margaret River in 1998.

“Ecotourism has come a long way in that time and now represents some 25% of the industry Australia-wide,” said Ecotourism Australia Chair, Dr Claire Ellis.

“The conference is usually held in late November/early December, so we are hopeful that by then travel is again a normal part of our lives.

“[The event] will be an important time to re-calibrate, focus on rebuilding affected markets and creating strong returns to businesses, destinations and communities through tourism.”

The role of partnerships, collaboration and cooperative marketing will come to the fore as the industry moves into a recovery mode.

The conference is being supported by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia and The Department of Biodiversity and Attractions, together with Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Augusta Margaret River Shire and the South West Development-Commission.

CEO of Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Steve Harrison said “We are proud in playing a part in attracting this conference to the Margaret River Region as it reflects the focus that many of our members and the shire have on ensuring a sustainable future for our region.”

Global Eco is Ecotourism Australia’s premier annual event and is the most respected ecotourism conference in the world.  It attracts leading tourism industry operators, ecotourism professionals, tourism bodies and researchers.

It is expected that this year’s conference will attract some 200-250 delegates from across Australia and around the world.

More details on the conference location and theme will be released in the coming days.


Treehouse Hotel

Located at the top of Regent Street, Treehouse Hotel is the first U.K. property for U.S.based SH Hotels and Resorts. The 95-room hotel is based in a protected building filled with eclectic throwback curios and vintage furniture. The hotel’s sustainability program includes a dedicated composting and recycling scheme, reduced single-use plastics operations, recycled glassware in rooms and bicycles.

Further information:


Jucy Joint Venture

Event Hospitality and Entertainment has acquired 50% of popular New Zealand pod-hotel group Jucy Snooze. Under the joint venture, Jucy Snooze will be the first budget accommodation brand to join the group alongside the Rydges, QT and Atura brands. Current Jucy Snooze locations include Christchurch and Queenstown with Auckland due to open mid-2020.

Further information:


Wildlife & Conservation

Bushfire Rehabilitation

Australian Wildlife Journeys, a collective of independently owned wildlife tourism experiences, has recently launched a series of conservation action days to assist in rehabilitating habitat to support wild animal populations adjacent to bushfire affected areas. This initiative will see tour operators team up with local conservation organisations on activities including planting trees, eradicating weeds, assisting Koalas in Victoria and monitoring the endangered Kangaroo Island Dunnart population in South Australia.

Further information:

Image: First epicormic leaves on a Manna Gum, 33 days after the fire - Image Credit: Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours

Cultural Tourism

Indigenous Innovation and Entrepreneurs Program

The Queensland Government and TAFE Queensland has launched a program to support innovative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses grow to the next level. The Indigenous Innovation and Entrepreneurs Program is open to Indigenous businesses, innovators or entrepreneurs across all industries with an increased focus on the participation of Indigenous tourism operators to grow their businesses.

Further information:


Cultural Attractions of Australia

The Australian National Maritime Museum and the National Museum of Australia have joined Australia’s peak organisation of iconic Australian arts and cultural attractions. The Cultural Attractions of Australia collective was launched in 2019 with the remit of presenting the best of Australia’s cultural offering to the world through behind-the-scenes experiences to appeal to the increasingly significant cultural tourism sector.

Further information:


Protected Areas

Main Range Ecotourism Project

The Queensland Government has partnered with Spicer’s Retreat, under the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, to build two new eco-camps within the Main Range National Park. The $10 million Scenic Rim Trail will be a world class six-day walking experience more than 50 kilometres long from Thornton Trailhead to Spicers Peak Nature Refuge. Each site will include modular prefabricated buildings with connecting raised walkways and supporting infrastructure including water tanks, solar energy and low amber lights to minimise nocturnal animal disruption. Work is expected to be completed in mid-2020.

Further information:

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

Responsible Travel

Not Hot List

To combat the escalating issue of swarming Instagram crowds, the world’s largest adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel has released its annual list of lesser known destinations and less frequently visited locations. The ‘Not Hot List’ aims to steer travellers toward communities that could benefit from tourism dollars, helping to alleviate the burden of overtourism.

Further information:

Project Reef Restoration

G Adventures and their non-profit partner Planeterra have teamed-up with Australian conservation group Reef Ecologic to expand their coral gardening program on the Great Barrier Reef. The experience will be built into G Adventures’ tours in the region, and travellers will get to learn all about the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and reef recovery while snorkelling. The partnership is the latest addition to the G for Good projects which aim to advance social and environmental causes across the adventure touring company’s global itinerary.

Further information:

Seed Collection Walks Initiative

The Tasmanian Walking Company has partnered with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens on an initiative to revive the burnt trees on Tasmania’s Overland Track in Cradle Mountain National Park. The walks will provide opportunities for guests to assist and contribute to the ongoing work taking place in late March and early April.

Further information:

Product Development

Ranges to River Great Walk

Two of South Australia’s great walks have teamed up to create a new eight-day Ranges to River experience showcasing the best of the Flinders Rangers and Murray River. The 80 kilometre experience is a fully inclusive luxury outback journey connecting the Arkaba Walk and Murray River Walk.

Further information:


Accessible Tourism

Tourism Australia has collated a range of handy resources to assist tourism operators plan and market their business to customers with access requirements including those with young children, prams, seniors and people with permanent or temporary disabilities.

Further information:

Digital & Technology

Accessible Virtual Adventures

A new start-up is providing aged care residents with a selection of virtual reality experiences. SilVR Adventures allows Australian seniors to revisit special locations and undertake group travel adventures including visiting Rome, the pyramids of Egypt and the world’s greatest art galleries. A trained facilitator leads each session and networked headsets allow for a shared experience. After launching in Victoria, the company is expanding into other states in 2020.

Further information:


Funding & Grants

Geographe Bay Brewing Company

The Geographe Bay Brewing Company will receive funding through the Regional Economic Development Grants program to upscale its brewery including a 500-seat restaurant at the Busselton foreshore. The grant will also support the purchase of a brewing system and canning production line to enable the sale of packaged beer from the venue for national and international markets. The Western Australian State Government has committed $28.8 million over five years for regional community projects.

Further information:

Policy & Planning

Queensland Events Guide

Tourism and Events Queensland has published the Queensland Events Guide featuring information designed to assist local organisers throughout an entire event lifecycle. The comprehensive resource provides advice on everything leading up to an event, delivery, sustainability, post-event activities and link with tourism. The updated edition includes new information on how event organisers can pay respect to the traditional owners and elders of the region in which their event is held through Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement.

Further information:


Sustainable Tourism Policies

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation, with support from United Nations Environment and the Government of France, has embarked on a research project with the objective to gain insights on the integration of sustainable consumption and production based on 101 national tourism policies from around the world. The report aims to encourage stakeholders to advance the implementation through sustainable tourism by recommending five strategic approaches.

Further information:

Indigenous Tourism Strategy

Tourism on Stradbroke Island will be one of several projects under a new Southeast Queensland Tourism Strategy. The State Government is working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a range of indigenous tourism experiences including Dreamworld’s Corroboree, Spirit of the Red Sands in Beenleigh and Brisbane’s Meeanjin Markets.

Further information:

Image: @spiritsredsand Instagram


Domestic Arts Tourism

The Australia Council for the Arts has released research showing that along with population growth and overall growth in domestic tourism, the numbers of Australians engaging with the arts while exploring their own country are growing. The report entitled Domestic Arts Tourism: Connecting the Country highlights the value of arts and culture to tourism strategies and the importance of a vibrant, creative landscape for the broader visitor economy and society as a whole. Further information:


Digital-Free Travel

Research has shown tourists who travel technology-free can suffer withdrawal symptoms akin to giving up smoking or drinking. The ‘Turning it off: Emotions in Digital-Free Travel’ study found that those travellers may experience anxiety at first, but that a device detox it is ultimately healthy. The study could also prove helpful to the tourism industry including tour operators and destination management organisations developing ‘off-the-grid’ packages or tech-savvy tour products.

Further information: