Edition 175 · December 2022
Tony Charters and Associates
Circulated to 10,000 professionals worldwide
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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.
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Al-Jouf International Agricultural Forum
Editor of Tourforce, Tony Charters AM was a speaker at the Al-Jouf International Agricultural Forum in December. Al-Jouf is a highly productive agricultural region in the north-west of Saudi Arabia and is famous for its olive oil, dates and many other fruits.
Tony, speaking on behalf of UN-FAO as the Senior Ecotourism Specialist, focussed on investment opportunities in ecotourism and agritourism in Al-Jouf. His presentation can be viewed HERE
Uber Travel is a new feature of the Uber app that allows customers to import hotel reservation and flight details automatically to create a travel itinerary with all the trip information in one single view. The one-stop-shop concept could make it one of the leading leisure and tourism applications in the world. Uber is also allowing restaurant reservations and leisure activities to be booked directly through a partnership with OpenTable and Viator.
Further information: https://www.uber.com/us/en/ride/how-it-works/travel/
Funding & Grants
Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grants
Applications are open for Round 4 of the Wine Tourism and Cellar Door Grant program which aims to support wine or cider producers who add value by encouraging visitors to wine regions. Total funding under the grant program is $10 million and applications close on 31 January 2023.
Further information: https://www.wineaustralia.com/wine-tourism-and-cellar-door-grants
Digital Skills Accelerator
Destination New South Wales has partnered with Tourism Tribe to offer the Digital Skills Accelerator to assist tourism businesses in Western Sydney including accommodation, tours, and attractions. The program aims to assist tourism businesses improve their online presence, build their digital marketing skills and channels. Applications close 31 January 2023.
Further information: https://www.tourismtribe.com/programs/west-sydney23/
Queensland Destination Events Program
Applications are open for Round 24 of Queensland Destination Events Program for events being staged between September 2023 to September 2024. Funding can be used by event organisers for marketing costs, strategic plan development, engagement of short-term specialised personnel and to hire temporary infrastructure. Applications close 1 February 2023.
Innovation Program for Tourism Recovery
The New Zealand Government has announced the $54 million Innovation Program for Tourism Recovery which aims to support projects that are sustainable, promote and protect taonga Māori, and improve resilience and productivity. The program will support unique and transformative ideas to help the industry become more sustainable and resilient. Applications close 28 February 2023.
The Queensland Electric Super-Highway offers 31 charging sites across the state for electric vehicles from Coolangatta to Port Douglas and from Brisbane to Toowoomba. All fast chargers conveniently located close to major highways at existing amenities like restaurants, cafes, and shops. Other public charging stations will continue to come online in the future including shopping centres, car parks and tourist locations.
Further information: https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/projects/electricvehicles/super-highway
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
Ritz-Carlton has announced the debut of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, creating an entirely unique category designed for those in search of unmatched getaways, highly curated itineraries, insider access and personalisation. The 190-metre custom-built superyachts can accommodate up to 298 passengers visiting the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
Further information: https://www.ritzcarltonyachtcollection.com/
Sunyata Eco Hotel
A new boutique Sunyata Eco Hotel in Chikmagalur, India has used ancient building techniques to provide modern luxury with a minimal carbon footprint. The hotel focused on environmental responsibility with rammed earth walls, clay tiles and mud bricks. Flat roofs and terraces contribute to the rainwater harvesting system which is used in irrigation. A combination of solar chimneys and earth tunnels reduce the need for air conditioning and a solar array provides part of the building’s energy needs. The furniture was also custom built by local artisans who used recycled cane where possible.
Further information: https://www.sunyatahotel.com/
Calile Malouf Investments has lodged plans for an integrated luxury resort on a 2.4-hectare site adjacent to the Noosa River at Noosa Heads. It will comprise 178 rooms, 12 suites, 15 villas and dining options. Architects Richards & Spence will also be working with landscape architect Marc Conlon of Conlon Group to create an integrated design that compliments the natural beauty of the surrounding Noosa landscape. The resort will target carbon-neutral operations incorporating annual Climate Active certification, a large-scale vermicomposting, bio-dehydrators, and a rooftop culinary garden. Works will commence in early 2024.
Further information: https://malouf.com.au/
St. Regis Resort Gold Coast
Developer Gurner has signed a deal with Marriott International that will see Australia’s first St. Regis hotel open its doors within the $1.7 billion La Pelago project on the Gold Coast in 2025. St. Regis is Marriott International’s leading luxury hotel brand with over 56 hotels and resorts around the world, making it one of the most exclusive hotel offerings for guests. The 185 rooms resort will include a speciality restaurant, world-class sky bar, pool bar, luxurious lounge, as well as the signature St. Regis Bar.
Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park
NRMA Parks and Resorts has acquired Queensland’s popular nature-based visitor holiday park, Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park. Famous for its thriving mob of kangaroos and wallabies who gather on the beach just in time for sunrise each morning, the property is the 11th in Queensland and brings the total to 40 holiday parks and resorts for the growing member-owned portfolio.
Further information: https://www.nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/
Ardent Leisure Group
The Ardent Leisure Group have announced a $50 million upgrade of Dreamworld theme park on Queensland’s Gold Coast to deliver an expanded range of attractions including a new family rollercoaster and Wave Swinger ride. The company is also planning to redevelop the land around the theme park including a hotel or a themed-residential area like Disney World in the United States.
Further information: https://www.dreamworld.com.au/news/the-future-of-dreamworld/
Fuwairit Kite Beach Resort
Fuwairit Kite Beach Resort is the new world-class destination for kite sports on the north-east coast of Doha. With a total of 40 beach-front rooms the purpose-built resort features a pool, yoga pavilion, padel courts, and an outdoor cinema. It is part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton which focuses on providing guests with a unique style and vibrant personality, to authentically match the location and kitesurfing community.
Further information: https://www.discoverqatar.qa/FKB/
Aurora Spa and Bathhouse
A new state-of-the-art luxury wellness spa has opened at the Continental Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. Aurora Spa and Bathhouse is inspired by the healing powers of water and ancient European curative water therapies including the regenerative benefits of hot and cold contrast therapy. The wellness experience is centred around an indoor Nordic sauna that features one of the largest saunas in the southern hemisphere and the first of its kind Glacial Mist Room.
Further information: https://auroraspa.com.au/
Welcome To Country Online Booking System
The Western Australia Indigenous Tourism Operators Council has introduced a new online booking system for organising a Welcome to Country. It allows users to select from and book several different cultural awareness ceremonies including a Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony or Cultural Awareness activity for their events.
Further information: https://www.waitoc.com/culture/welcome-country
El Questro Agreement
A landmark 99-year lease agreement has been signed between the Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation and the Western Australian Government which will see over 165,000 hectares of land at El Questro Wilderness Park in The Kimberley returned to the Country’s traditional owners. Nearly 120 years after El Questro was established as a cattle station, the agreement guarantees ongoing employment and training for local Indigenous youth by G’day Group, as well as the purchase carbon credits to enable the property to operate with net zero emissions.
Further information: https://www.wilinggin.com.au/
Spellbound By Sweden
A new immersive destination marketing campaign by Visit Sweden features a mysterious audio story around Sweden’s folklore written by an internationally acclaimed horror author John Ajvide Lindqvist. Inspired by Sweden’s heritage, culture, and folklore this chilling tale brings to life some mythological creatures. The short audio story named Kiln is geo-restricted and only available for listening in a Swedish forest.
Further information: https://visitsweden.com/spellbound-by-sweden/
Best in Travel Guide
Lonely Planet has released their annual Best in Travel Guide for 2023, consisting of 30 must-visit locations brought to life through itineraries, features, and videos. The 30 destinations are chosen for topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and ongoing commitment to sustainability, community, and diversity. Over the past 49 years, Lonely Planet has printed over 145 million guidebooks covering 221 countries.
Further information: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel
Inclusive Tourism Checklist
Scandic Hotels is the only company in the world that has developed an accessibility standard and ensure all hotels describe their accessibility online. They have worked closely with organisations that represent people with special needs as well as guests with physical disabilities and team members to create a checklist of 159 points which encompasses all products and services at the hotel.
An award-winning invention by Air4All hopes to make travelling by plane more accessible for people who use wheelchairs. It allows wheelchair users to secure their own chair using a special patented track which is installed under a folding seat in the first row so the space can also be used by non-wheelchair users. It allows people to clip their own chair into the track, which keeps it secure for take-off and landing.
Further information: https://air4all.net/
Local Accessible Guides
Visit Moreton Bay Region has released some new guides highlighting the accessible and inclusive things to do in the Moreton Bay Region for travellers. The guides were developed in partnership with Spinal Life Australia, Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism and Moreton Bay Regional Council.
Further information: https://www.visitmoretonbayregion.com.au/blog/accessibility-inclusion
Accessible Tourism Discussion Paper
The Sparrowly Group have released the fifth edition of their Accessible Tourism Discussion Paper which recognises the challenges and opportunities, as well as practical advice and support resources for the industry. The latest edition of the guide also includes audio readings to be accessible and inclusive as possible.
Further information: https://www.sparrowly.com/accessible-tourism
Petrified Fur-Rest Bark Park
Dogs and their humans can now have time together at the Fur-Rest Bark Park at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The new dog park, located near the Painted Desert Visitor Centre, features one area for big dogs and one for small dogs, benches for humans and even an out of commission fire hydrant. Plans for shade structures, tunnels and wheelchair accessible areas are also in the works.
Further information: https://www.nps.gov/pefo/learn/news/new-dog-park.htm
Infrastructure & Investment
A new glass bridge with diamond-shaped bar has opened in Georgia above the Dashbashi Canyon. The record-breaking Tsalka Canyon Diamond Bridge is 240-metres long and 280-metres at the highest point. Construction of the $40 million bridge took about two and a half years and was designed by Israel-and-Georgia-based firm the Kass Group. Thrill-seekers can also ride across the canyon on a bike attached to a zip line.
Further information: https://kass-group.com/portfolio_page/kass-land-zelka-canyon/
Beauty Between the Mountains and the Sea
Montenegro, on the Adriatic coast, has unique geographical diversity, and is often cited as one of Europe’s most fascinating tourist destinations. Montenegro, declared an ecological country 31 years ago, is strongly committed to responsible and sustainable tourism, as evidenced by numerous awards and international certificates. Twenty-seven international certificates of sustainability in tourism have been awarded to accommodation facilities to date. Montenegro has been especially committed to the development of rural tourism, contributing to the development of rural households, of which some 200 are registered. Five national parks, eight nature parks and 38 beaches with a blue flag certification make Montenegro an oasis for environmentally conscious tourists. In a relatively small area, tourists can enjoy beaches with crystal clear water, untouched nature in the mountains and visit places with UNESCO status.
Further Information: https://www.montenegro.travel/en
Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative enables businesses, governments, and other tourism stakeholders to lead by example in the shift towards a circular economy of plastics. It has released a tool to assist accommodation business calculate how much plastics they are using or generating. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Measurement Methodology for Accommodation Providers can be used at either individual property or whole portfolio level to facilitate the plastic calculation and reporting process.
Further information: https://www.unwto.org/sustainable-development/global-tourism-plastics-initiative
Denmark-based booking platform Goodwings offers subscription-based access to more than one million hotels worldwide at wholesale rates which are 100% carbon compensated. The business model is built on partnerships with a global network of 100 non-profit partners in over 40 countries. Money saved on advertising is redirected towards projects such as the preservation of an endangered tropical rainforest ecosystem or providing local communities with new schools, education programs or health clinics.
Further information: https://www.goodwings.com/
Good Travel Program
Marriott Bonvoy has expanded the Good Travel Program with three distinct pillars environmental protection, community engagement and marine conservation. It now has close to 100 hotels across the Asia-Pacific portfolio which offer guests the opportunity to forge first-hand connections with local communities and the environment during their stay. It is also collaborating with PARDICOLOR an environmental creative arts initiative that supports local artists to raise environmental and social awareness across Southeast Asia.
Further information: https://marriottbonvoyasia.com/goodtravel
Reef Beer Research
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and Ballistic Beer Co. have partnered together to support critical manta ray research on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. The brewer has pledged that 10 cents from every ‘Reef’ beer sold on Lady Elliot Island will go towards Project Manta which undertakes critical research investigating manta rays on the East Coast of Australia. Project Manta is part of the Leaf to Reef research program and the Great Barrier Reef Foundations Reef Islands Initiative, delivered by the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Qatar Airways has released its Sustainability Report for 2019-21 detailing how the group responded to the pandemic, as well as its strategy to recover and build resilience to ensure long-term business sustainability. Highlights of the report include committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and launching a voluntary carbon offset program for passengers.
Further information: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/about-qatar-airways/environmental-awareness.html
G Adventures is investing in a travel-tech start-up that enables travellers to give back by planting trees in places where community tourism relies heavily on the preservation of the local environment. Reforest is a Brisbane-based digital platform that provides travellers with scientific data including drone-based footage and satellite imagery. The investment will allow the company to improve technology and market the platform more widely to the global travel industry.
Further information: https://reforest.com.au/
Policy & Planning
Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council
The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council is an international network and forum to bring together the public and private sectors in the development of sustainable frameworks enabling business growth. The platform allows the worldwide travel industry to share information and best practices in preparedness, crisis management, resilience, and disaster recovery.
Further information: https://www.resiliencecouncil.com/
Reopening Borders Lessons and Guidance
A tourism reopening framework for Pacific Island countries has been launched by the Pacific Tourism Organisation, in partnership with the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative. The Reopening Borders to Tourism in Pacific Island Countries: Key Lessons and Guidance features examples from countries around the Pacific and the world that have reopened or planned to permit international arrivals after the removal of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Further information: https://www.pacificpsdi.org/assets/Uploads/PSDI-REOPENING-FRAMEWORK.pdf
National Travel and Tourism Strategy
The United States Government has released the National Travel and Tourism Strategy which focuses efforts to foster a travel and tourism sector that drives economic growth, creates good jobs, and bolsters conservation and sustainability. Drawing on engagement and capabilities from across the Federal Government, it aims to increase the value of tourism, in addition to increasing the volume of international visitation and spending.
Further information: https://www.trade.gov/national-travel-and-tourism-strategy
Ecotourism Australia Corporate Strategy
Ecotourism Australia have published their Corporate Strategy 2022–2025, building on the organisations 30-year legacy as a leader in nature-based and sustainable tourism. The strategy will focus on future growth through six strategic pillars by working with stakeholders and developing partnerships to lead the industry in global best practice sustainability.
International Code for the Protection of Tourists
The World Tourism Organisation has developed a framework to provide tourists with greater legal and consumer protection rights as part of rebuilding confidence in a post-COVID-19 world. The International Code for the Protection of Tourists aims to give governments, public and private stakeholders a set of minimum international standards for the protection of tourists in emergency situations and consumer rights.
Further information: https://www.unwto.org/international-code-for-the-protection-of-tourists
Education & Training
Executive Education for Tourism
The University of Queensland has partnered with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council to create a suite of professional development courses tailored to the tourism and hospitality industry. The Executive Education for Tourism courses have been designed to help build resilient and address challenges being faced by the industry, in both public and private sectors.
Further information: https://business.uq.edu.au/executive-education/tourism-courses#upcoming-courses
Air Travel Hacks Report
The Expedia Group has released its 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report for Australian and New Zealand travellers. It provides insight on the best days to book on, minimise flight delays and a whole lot more. The report provides six proven tips to help save time and money as travellers encounter unpredictable flight prices, delays, and cancellations.
Further information: https://www.expedia.com.au/stories/2023-flight-hacks/
Cities Economic Impact Report
WTTC is proud to present the Cities Economic Impact Report 2022 in conjunction with Visa. As travel restrictions have eased worldwide throughout 2022, pent-up demand has been realised, and recovery to pre-pandemic levels of activity is well underway. Our latest report explores the rate of recovery post-COVID in 82 global cities.
Further information: https://research.wttc.org/cities-economic-impact
Future of Demand Research
Tourism Australia, with the support of state and territory tourism organisations, and tourism industry operators from across Australia and key markets, have released the new Future of Demand Research. This is report provides a comprehensive map of global demand for 143 individual tourism experiences across 20 markets including insights into Sustainability, Indigenous and Accessible tourism.
States of Mind Travel Report
Allianz Partners has unveiled a new report assessing the current needs, wants and behaviours of travellers and the main trends that will impact the future of travel. The States of Mind Travel report draws on Allianz Partner’s Customer Lab research, Summer Vacation Confidence Index, and insights from leading travel industry experts. The report highlights the increase in stress factors facing travellers and highlights three main trends including the demand for greater flexibility, new ways of working, and the future of sustainable travel.
Tourism Market Outlook
The Deloitte Access Economics Tourism Market Outlook provides insights into the issues facing the Australian tourism sector including an in-depth analysis of recent global trends and the implications for domestic and international tourism markets. Key highlights show that while domestic activity has bounced back, the full recovery of the inbound sector is being slowed by constraints in aviation capacity and continuing travel restrictions.
Adventure in Motion
Winners of the Adventure in Motion short film competition have been announced at the 2022 Adventure Travel World Summit in Switzerland. The competition was open to tourism organisations, tour operators, creative agencies, and individuals. Organised by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Adventure Travel, it covers the categories of Adventure needs Nature, Women or Community.
Further information: https://www.adventure.travel/adventure-in-motion
Conferences & Events
Australian Tourism Exchange
The Australian Tourism Exchange 2023 will be held on the Gold Coast from 30 April – 4 May 2023. The event brings together tourism businesses, wholesalers, and retailers from around the world to conduct scheduled business appointments and participate in networking events.
Further information: https://events.tourism.australia.com/ate23/
TRENZ will be held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre in New Zealand from 8-11 May 2023. The four-day trade event brings international travel buyers together to meet with New Zealand tourism operators to build or renew relationships and negotiate business for upcoming seasons.
Further information: https://www.trenz.co.nz/trenz/trenz-2023/overview