Tourforce - Tourism is your Business

Edition 148 ·

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.

Top Stories

Global Eco Conference Goes Live and Virtual for 2020

The Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference (Global Eco), the premier event of Ecotourism Australia, will be staged as both a live conference in Margaret River for Western Australians and live streamed globally from 1-3 December 2020.

There has never been a more important time to draw on our collective strengths through attendance at this year’s conference.  Virtual delegates will be able to participate in Q&A and discussion sessions.

The live conference at Margaret River will have a rich range of Western Australian ecotourism leaders, and will also have access to live-streamed keynote speakers from interstate and overseas.

“There has never been a more important time to come together, draw on our collective strengths and once again spearhead the future form of our tourism industry,” said Conference Co-Convenor Professor Ross Dowling AM.

“The 2020 conference will bring together a diversity of players who collectively deliver Australia’s world leading ecotourism industry. They will assist the industry to question how we go about future business – our offerings, our alliances, and  new or strengthened market opportunities,” said Conference Co-Convenor Tony Charters AM.

The Conference program features more than 60 speakers over the three days.

This year for the first time, Global Eco Asia-Pacific will be live-streamed allowing individual and groups to attend the conference virtually. Destinations, universities and interested organisations  can opt to establish a ‘satellite node’ to livestream the conference to a group of stakeholders and create their own networking event.

To view the program, please click here:

The Margaret River HEART

The Margaret River HEART is the newest addition to conferencing and entertainment venues in Western Australia’s South West.

The building incorporates sustainable design features and has been benchmarked as Four Stars for its green Star Design Rating. Materials used are of the highest quality and suitability to achieve energy efficiency and low maintenance costs.  The design incorporates recycled materials including beams and bar furniture fashioned from wood used in the original theatre and squash courts.

The Margaret River HEART design incorporates passive solar design principals with west facing windows, internal motorised blinds maximising solar load control, photovoltaic power offsetting mains power, 100% recycled and recyclable carpet, natural ventilation via motorised operable windows connected to the Building Management software, and low power demand LED lighting throughout.

The venue has capacity for up to 440 delegates theatre style, 150 delegate breakout space and has an exhibition hall.  The team is looking forward to hosting delegates to the 2020 Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference 1 – 3 December.

Image: Provided by Margaret River
Image: Provided by Margaret River

Vacations in a Box

IKEA has come up with a clever idea to sell ‘Vacations in a Box’ to help transport customers to far-flung destinations such as Paris, Turkey, the Maldives and Tokyo. The boxes were designed with the help of Memac Ogilv in Dubai and come with a selection of curated IKEA products including pillows, tableware, candles and artwork inspired by the locations.

Further information:


How is the Reef Beauty in the Eyes of Different Beholders?

Researchers at Griffith Institute for Tourism, funded by the National Environmental Science Program, explored whether people from different cultural groups would have different perceptions of the aesthetic value of the Great Barrier Reef. “People protect what they love, and they love what they find beautiful. The link between the aesthetics of landscapes and people’s desire to experience and protect them is a really important one,” says Prof. Susanne Becken, program leader and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith.

The research used focus groups, interviews and modern eye-tracking technology to find out whether First Nations People, non-indigenous Australians and Chinese differ in the way they appreciate the Reef beauty. Focusing on under-water imagery, the team found that mostly people prefer similar aesthetic attributes, including water quality, diversity of marine life, coral health, colour vibrancy, and naturalness. “However when it came to images that were either particularly beautiful or ugly (including scenes with pollution), the cultural influences became more apparent. First Nation People, in particular, expressed much more aesthetic appreciation toward the most beautiful reef sceneries and more concern about polluted sceneries,” notes Dr (Jenny) Dung Le who led the social science component of the research.

The research highlights the importance of the Reef to indigenous people, and the need to build cultural significance and authenticity of GBR aesthetics into visitor experiences and public efforts to support conservation of the Reef.

Further Information:

Image: Provided by Griffith University

Digital & Technology

Tourism Tech Hub

YHA, in partnership with technology company Atlassian, is part of a major urban regeneration project in Sydney to create a vibrant new precinct centred around a ‘tech hub.’ The Central Precinct Renewal Program will see an environmentally friendly building incorporating the new Atlassian headquarters and tourist accommodation currently provided at the heritage-listed Railway Square YHA, Sydney.

Further information:


Product Development

Museum of Underwater Art

A new tourism attraction and the first of its kind in the southern atmosphere is situated in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off the coast of Townsville. The Museum of Underwater Art comprises a series of installations by renowned underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor that highlight reef conservation, restoration and education. Divers and snorkelers will also be able to immerse themselves in a unique experience which aims to offer opportunities for scientists, marine students and tourists to engage in action-based learning and research.

Further information:


Safety & Security

Tourism Trade Checklist

The Tourism Trade Checklist is an industry-led initiative allowing for the collection, storage and sharing of information relating to business trade compliance and COVID Readiness. Created by the Australian Tourism Export Council, the checklist is the new home for trade compliance information for Australia’s tourism industry, as well as a directory accessed by national and international buyers and trade partners.

Further information:

Resilient Mind Program

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents has launched a new mental health support program in partnership with the Mind Body Brain Performance Institute. The four-week program blends resilience education with online tools, videos, workouts, a social feed and daily rituals for a positive mindset.

Further information:


Space Cabin

Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has revealed the interiors of the first Spaceship Two vehicle. The cabin of VSS Unity has been designed for astronauts including out-of-seat weightless, soft cabin surfaces and individual seats designed to manage the g-force on boost and re-entry. The unveiling on YouTube featured a virtual walkthrough of the cabin interior and other elements of the Virgin Galactic spaceflight experience.

Further information:


Interactive Map

IATA’s free online interactive map details the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions around the world. The map is updated in real-time and displays entry requirements on a country-by-country basis. Further information:

Self-Check Temperature Kiosks

Contactless kiosks that allow users to take their own temperature are being rolled out at bus interchanges and Mass Rapid Transit stations in Singapore. The kiosk contains a thermal device and detects the heat signature from the person’s forehead to provide a temperature reading. The joint initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the Land Transport Authority and the Defence Science and Technology Agency has been developed in collaboration with Singapore-based engineering company Hope Technik.

Further information:

Image: Temperature Self-Check Kiosk at Braddell MRT Station (Photo Credit: MCCY)

Indigenous Tourism

Year of Indigenous Tourism

The Queensland Government is extending the Year of Indigenous Tourism through into 2021 to further boost the profile of Indigenous experiences in Queensland. A new $10 million Indigenous tourism fund was announced as part of the Year of Indigenous Tourism to help further develop this sector of the industry and create economic opportunities and jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

Further information:


Reignite the Love of Travel

Accor, a global hospitality leader, has launched a new global campaign: Reignite the Love of Travel. The engaging social media campaign features a short film designed to reassure and create desire while uplifting its audience. Travelers will be invited to share their travel dreams and inspiration, which will be combined to create a second inspirational travel film.

Further information:

Grants & Funding

Nature-Based Tourism Ideas

The Western Australian Government is seeking ideas for new high-quality tourism experiences in lands and waters managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The initiative aims to boost the tourism potential of parks and submissions are invited from industry which may include new adventure activities, tourism experiences, infrastructure, tour products, eco accommodation and/or Aboriginal cultural tourism opportunities.

Further information:

Tourism Recovery Strategy

The Queensland Government has announced a multi-million-dollar package to boost Far North Queensland tourism as part of the government’s economic recovery strategy to assist businesses to make it through COVID-19. The $11.3 million includes $6.5 million for 4 shovel-ready projects, $3 million to help attract major events to the regions and $1.8 million to assist Reef Fleet operators.

Further information:

Bushfire Recovery Partnership

A new partnership between Ecotourism Australia and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia is aiming to assist Australia’s bushfire-affected communities. Funding will also support the development of a bushfire interpretation toolkit for ecotourism operators and a proposed bushfire recovery symposium for bushfire-affected regions to get together and share their learnings.

Further information:

Protected Areas

Great Barrier Reef Census

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef are launching the GBR Census that will see 100 priority reefs surveyed by staff and volunteers on tourism and research boats annually over a six-week period in 2020. The census aims to establish a broad snapshot of the Great Barrier Reef’s status in a way that is credible, scientifically sound and provides valuable insights for its management, while also mobilising the global community in its ongoing protection. This global science initiative is encouraging citizen to get involved by helping to analyse the photos.

Further information:

National Parks Boost

The Queensland Government is investing an additional $8.9 million into national park infrastructure upgrades and improve existing facilities managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The program will deliver improved nature-based tourism visitor facilities and experiences such as new walking trails, day-use areas and enhance park-based activities while supporting regional supply chains and local trades in Queensland.

Further information:

Destination Marketing

New Victorian Tourism Campaign

Visit Victoria has launched a new campaign that encourages Victorians to get behind the state’s tourism industry by buying local products online. The ‘Click for Vic’ campaign connects Victorians with local producers, creators and businesses across the state and urges them to order produce and products direct to their door. The campaign is being rolled out across television, print, radio, digital and social media channels.

Further information:

Policy & Planning

Reef Sustainability Plan

The Australian Government is inviting Australians to have their say on a draft of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. The comprehensive review is to ensure the plan continues to focus on key threats and actions to support the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. It acknowledges that improving the long-term outlook for the reef requires global action to reduce emissions, supported by effective actions to improve water quality and continued marine park management and stewardship.

Further information:


Training & Education

Volunteer and Events Training Program

TAFE Queensland has developed a Volunteers and Events Training Program to provide free training for paid and unpaid volunteers and event organisers in disaster-affected communities. The aim of the program is to provide skills for building resilience with a focus on helping the tourism industry to recover and prepare for the future.

Further information:

Student Visa

The Australian Government is making changes to student visa arrangements to ensure Australia remains competitive with other countries. The changes include recommencing granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia, allowing student visa holders studying online outside Australia being be able to count that study towards the requirement for a post-study work visa and additional time for applicants to provide English language results.

Further information:


Corporate Decision-Maker

Business Events Australia has completed research to understand attitudes to restarting events amongst Australian corporate decision-makers. The first wave of insights from the research includes information on barriers, confidence factors and event motivations. The results showed increasing optimism for events in the next six to 12 months, even though several factors affect confidence to host business events in the short term.

Further information:

Indigenous Tourism Study

A new report has revealed Indigenous tourism supports $505 million in visitor expenditure in Queensland and employs nearly 2500 people on a full-time basis. The Indigenous Tourism Sector Analysis is based on a survey of Indigenous businesses as well as visitation data on holiday visitors who engaged in Indigenous tourism experiences in Queensland. The report was commissioned by Tourism and Events Queensland and conducted by the University of Queensland and Griffith University.

Further information:

Air Traveller Survey

The International Air Transport Association which represents some 290 airlines has released research showing the willingness to travel being tempered by concerns over the risks of catching COVID-19 during air travel. The survey pointed to some key issues in restoring passenger confidence and concerns which the tourism industry will need to communicate more effectively as part of any re-start plans.

Further information:

Conferences & Events

Virtual Luxperience

Luxury travel showcase Luxperience will be held online from 13-16 October 2020. The virtual event will have pre-scheduled appointments, workshops and industry keynote presentations for exhibitors and buyers.

Further information:

Australian Regional Tourism Convention

The Australian Regional Tourism Convention will be held online from 27-29 October 2020. The event provides a way for organisations and professionals to discuss the future of regional tourism in Australia.

Further information:

Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference

The Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference will be held in Margaret River, Western Australia from 1-3 December 2020. The theme is – Revolution, Driving Evolution and is aiming attract a diversity of attendees that can contribute to a revolution in the tourism world that can take a fresh look at the industry.

Further information: