Edition 186 · November 2023
Tony Charters and Associates
Circulated to 10,000 professionals worldwide
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Ambassador for Responsible Tourism
The World Tourism Organisation has announced the appointment of acclaimed actor Winston Duke as the Ambassador for Responsible Tourism who will advocate for sustainable tourism practices and raise awareness about the transformative power of travel supporting the Tourism Open Minds campaign. Duke will also advocate for the importance of tourism in fostering economic growth, preserving cultural heritage, and protecting the environment.
Grants & Funding
Tourism Business Support Program
Murray River tourism operators impacted by recent flooding can receive additional assistance to support the return to full operations, staff upskilling, marketing activities and events. The Mid Murray River Tourism Business Support Program aims to provide funds to boost the cash flow for tourism businesses located in the council region and low-lying neighbouring areas. The funding is part of the $4.6 million river recovery plan which also includes the Rise Up for our River marketing campaign and the River Revival Voucher program. Applications close 24 November 2023.
Economic Recovery Fund
Tourism operators in regional areas of South Australia can apply grants under the Economic Recovery Fund which will provide $20 million to support eligible infrastructure projects including new accommodation or expansions, infrastructure to enhance visitor engagement or develop new tour offerings to utilise existing products and experiences. Applications close on 15 December 2023.
Destination Charging Program
Applications are now open for small to medium regional tourism businesses and councils to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The New South Wales Government has allocated $10 million under round two of the Destination Charging Program to support the installation of 1,500 charge ports at tourism destinations including motels, wineries, cafes, restaurants, natural attractions, visitor information centres, museums, zoos, and local government facilities. A range of tourist drives to promote electric travel across destinations will be developed after implementation. Applications close 3 May 2024.
Virgin Voyages has announced USD$550 million (AUD$850 million) in funding and is planning 27 new itineraries in 19 new ports around the world including a second 2024-25 season in Australia. The cruise line officially launched in August 2021 and currently operates three ships in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and Australia and New Zealand. It has delayed the introduction of its newest ship Brilliant Lady, due to unexpected construction, supply chain and staffing challenges.
Further information: https://www.virginvoyages.com/
Slovenia has introduced a new public transport ticket which makes it affordable and easy for travellers to use more sustainable transport routes in their country. The ticket available in daily, three-day, weekly, monthly, and yearly passes allows unlimited travel across a multitude of modes and carriers. By making the whole country accessible on one ticket, Slovenia is making sustainable travel easy for tourists by optimising their experience of the country with transport availability and affordability.
Bonza Tailored Holidays
Australia’s newest low-cost carrier has launched Bonza Holidays which allows travellers to book tailored packaged holidays via the Fly Bonza app to any one of its 21 destinations. The first phase includes packaged flights and accommodation with optional travel insurance. The second phase will include car hire, activities, attractions, and tours. The Bonza Holidays platform is powered by Melbourne-based travel-tech start up Awai which leverages real-time pricing and provides AI-driven responses for customer travel planning queries through its natural language interface.
Seppeltsfield winery in the historic Barossa Valley wine region of South Australia has announced the development of a new A$50 million six-star hotel. The luxury 12-storey hotel will have 71 rooms across 12 storeys and a viewing deck on the top floor encompassing 360-degree views over the Barossa Valley. The Oscar Seppeltsfield will be opening in 2025.
Further information: https://www.oscarbarossa.com/
Drive In Hotel
The b’mine hotel group is developing architecturally harmonious lifestyle hotels that allow guests the option of parking their vehicle in front of their room. For this purpose, some of the rooms are equipped with a CarLift, innovative event spaces, wellness rooms and state-of-the-art digital offerings round off the hotel experience. The Berlin-based hotel group aims to operate 30 hotels in German and European destinations by 2030.
Further information: https://www.bmine.de/de/presse
Hotel Etico is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel that runs a tourism training and employment program for young people with disability. The New South Wales Government launched the Disability Employment Tourism Local Navigators Pilot to promote greater workforce participation for people with disability in the visitor economy. As part of the pilot, the hotel is delivering interactive workshops, individualised support, coaching, peer support and disability-led capacity building activities for employers in their local area.
Further information: https://hoteletico.com.au/hotel-etico-training-program/
Infrastructure & Investment
Ningaloo Reef Resort Redevelopment
RAC’s Ningaloo Reef Resort in Western Australia’s North-West Region has unveiled plans for the $70 million redevelopment of the current resort to make way for 90 new holiday units, along with a new pool area, restaurant, bar, and function spaces. The capacity of the resort will increase with a mix of new accommodation options from hotel rooms to units offering panoramic views of the Ningaloo Marine Park World Heritage site. There is also investment in solar energy, induction appliances and heat pump hot water systems to eliminate the need for gas, and the inclusion of electric vehicle chargers. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024.
Further information: https://parksandresorts.rac.com.au/ningaloo/redevelopment/
National Aboriginal Art Gallery
The National Aboriginal Art Gallery project is a transformative endeavour to create a world-class destination celebrating the artistic traditions and cultural expressions of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Northern Territory Government, in partnership with local Arrernte communities and First Nations peoples from across Australia is working to establish a centre dedicated to the display, celebration, and interpretation of First Nations cultural and creative expressions. holds a profound vision for the future.
Qatar Airways Partners with United for Wildlife
Qatar Airways has become the official airline partner for The Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife program, an initiative working to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and protect endangered species. Qatar Airways and United for Wildlife will pursue campaigns around a shared mission to fight the illegal wildlife trade and advance the work of the United for Wildlife Regional Chapters. As the official airline, Qatar is certified to the industry standard for the prevention of illegal wildlife trafficking in aviation including procedures, staff training and reporting protocols that help with better detection of illegal wildlife products.
Frog Recovery Program
Gold Coast Airport is a founding partner of the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Kroombit Tinkerfrog recovery program which aims to release genetically diverse captive bred frogs into the wild to repopulate sites where the species has gone extinct. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was the first organisation in the world to successfully breed the critically endangered frog species and has successfully released the first 26 frogs into the wild at Kroombit Tops National Park near Gladstone.
Elephant Valley for San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Construction is underway on the largest and most transformative project in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 50-year history. The new Denny Sanford Elephant Valley will turn the current elephant environment into a place of exploration. Guests will learn about the role elephants have as ecosystem engineers, and about their social dynamics. At the centre of the guest experience is a two-story lodge, inspired by the destinations frequented by travellers on safari in Africa.
Further information: https://sdzsafaripark.org/elephantvalley/
Galway Whiskey Trail
Galway on Ireland’s west coast has launched a self-guided whiskey tour featuring 12 locations that have played a significant role in the region’s whiskey heritage. To mark the launch of the trail a bespoke whiskey from Galway Hooker was bottled and is available to taste at all trail outlets.
Further information: https://galwaywhiskeytrail.ie/
Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has launched a new experience offering visitors a unique opportunity to observe Australia’s nocturnal wildlife. The $1.8 million Nocturnal Precinct project was developed by Kamori Australia and features a one-kilometre accessible boardwalk and seven new exhibits where visitors can use portable thermal imaging camera technology to explore the after-dark habitats of 10 species including Tree Kangaroo, Potoroos, Pademelons, Bandicoots and Bettongs.
Further information: https://www.dtis.qld.gov.au/news/latest/2023/thermal-imaging-australian-wildlife
Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry
Visit Sunshine Coast, in partnership with the Food and Agribusiness Network, has launched a new campaign to tap into the growing agritourism sector. Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry aims to position the region as a leading agritourism destination by allowing visitors to discover paddock-to-plate dining, fresh local produce, and unique farm stays. The campaign will include a dedicated website supported by promotions in consumer and social media, magazines, and broadcast TV. It is being funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as part of the Project CRAFTED initiative.
Further information: https://www.visitsunshinecoast.com/qld-sunshine-pantry
Made in Singapore
The Singapore Tourism Board has unveiled its latest global campaign to inspire travellers to choose Singapore as their next travel destination. The Made in Singapore campaign highlights how Singapore makes unexpected, diverse, and unique experiences possible, where the ordinary is made extraordinary. It aims to keep Singapore top of mind and connect across different travellers by showcasing the country’s key attributes.
Travel Our Way
South Australia’s latest domestic marketing campaign features some of South Australia’s tourism icons and experiences. Travel Our Way was created by Fuller Brand Communication and directed by well-known actor and film director Mark Webber. It aims to drive domestic visitation and expenditure from Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia across TV, outdoor, and cinema, as well as digital and social media.
Guggenheim for All
Guggenheim for All is an initiative to create a welcoming and accessible museum experience for visitors with autism and sensory sensitivities to explore works of art from the Guggenheim Museum. It provides resources for museum visitors, programs that support creative exploration and learning, and opportunities for engagement that highlight the strengths and interests of individuals on the autism spectrum. The toolkit also includes a sensory map to identify sensory-friendly spaces within the museum.
Further information: https://www.guggenheim.org/accessibility/guggenheim-for-all
Digital & Technology
Digital Passport Program
Finland has launched the world’s first digital passport pilot program which will eliminate the need to carry a physical document allowing travellers to scan an app on their smartphone at designated checkpoints instead of being manually checked by a border agent. The Digital Travel Credentials system is designed to accelerate and streamline the border check process. Croatia and the Netherlands are also planning similar programs co-funded by the European Union which has a target of getting 80% of citizens using a digital identity to access key public and private services by 2030.
Further information: https://raja.fi/en/dtc
A new Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Geoscience Council and the Indonesian Geoparks Network aims to raise the profile of both countries as nature-based tourism destinations. Under the collaboration, geotourism regions in Australia including the Murchison in Western Australia, and Ku-ring-gai, and Glen Innes Highlands in New South Wales will be promoted by the two countries. The agreement builds on the National Geotourism Strategy launched in 2021.
Tomaree Coastal Walk
A new 27-kilometre Coastal Walk has opened offering a multi-day walking adventure in the heart of Port Stephens. The $6.7 million Tomaree Coastal Walk is the latest Great Walk developed by the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. It is located on the traditional lands of the Worimi people and traverses an ancient volcanic landscape rich in culture and nature.
Further information: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/experiences/tomaree-coastal-walk
Tipping the Scales
Responsible Travel has published its first major impact report, as it rolls out a carbon labelling initiative to its industry partners. The Impact Report – Tipping the Scales is a comprehensive overview of the company goals, actions, and progress between 2021-2023, as well as its new holiday screening criteria and company purpose. Responsible Travel offers 6,000 holidays across more 180 countries with the aim of creating better places to live in and to visit.
Further information: https://www.responsibletravel.com/copy/impact-report
Trees for Days Initiative
G Adventures has announced the Trees for Days initiative, in partnership with Planeterra and Reforest, to increase the positive impact for travellers while at the same time supporting communities impacted by climate change. Every day a traveller is on a G Adventures trip, one tree will be grown in their name, helping to both mitigate carbon emissions and increase support in 17 local communities around the world. The projects are in locations that have been impacted by climate change through deforestation or are currently under threat.
Further information: https://www.gadventures.com/community-tourism/trees-for-days
The New Zealand Department of Conservation and Air New Zealand have renewed their conservation partnership after more than a decade of collaboration. The renewal will see Air New Zealand invest more than $5 million in biodiversity programs over the next five years including sustained pest control and species monitoring across the Great Walks, nationwide Conservation Dogs Program, and Threatened Species Transportation.
Further information: https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/doc
Every Stay Gives Back
Travel platform the Kind Traveller’s new community impact program has 32 hotels and 16 charities in 19 global destinations. The ‘Every Stay Gives Back’ program funds local charities critical to the communities’ travellers visit whether the booking occurs directly with the hotel or on a third-party partner platform. The program provides hotels, tourism boards, and travellers with a live community impact report digital dashboard displaying the funds raised and the details of the positive impact created.
Policy & Planning
Tourism Industry Aotearoa has released a new strategy which provides transformative actions for the New Zealand tourism industry over the next 30 years. The Tourism 2050: A Blueprint for Impact strategy provides clearly defines roles and responsibilities for industry, government, and businesses including addressing funding, data, and research. It will also look at embracing Māori knowledge, achieving net zero carbon, championing biodiversity, transforming tourism and conservation, building sustainability capability, and growing the tourism workforce using Tiaki – Care for New Zealand.
Further information: https://www.tia.org.nz/tourism-2050/
Emissions Reduction Initiative
The Tasmanian Government announced a $1.5 million package to help the state’s visitor economise lower its carbon emissions. The funding includes $300,000 for the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania to support operators to undertake emissions audits and carbon accounting to help understand their emissions profile and develop plans to reduce their footprint. To be eligible for the Emissions Reduction Initiative businesses must be accredited as sustainable under the Quality Tourism Australia Framework.
Further information: https://tict.com.au/emissions-reduction/the-program/
Best Tourism Villages
The World Tourism Organisation has announced its list of Best Tourism Villages 2023. The 74 new villages are leading in nurturing rural areas and preserving landscapes, cultural diversity, local values, and culinary traditions. Launched in 2021, the Best Tourism Villages initiative is part of the Tourism for Rural Development Program which works to foster development and inclusion in rural areas, combat depopulation, advance innovation and value chain integration through tourism and encourage sustainable practices.
Further information: https://www.unwto.org/news/unwto-names-its-best-tourism-villages-2023
Sustainability Benchmarking Tool
The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has published a report in collaboration with EY outlining a new sustainability benchmarking framework and tool, to track and compare sustainability progress within the Hospitality sector. It has been developed as a response to the lack of consistency in frameworks across the sector. Companies can use the tool to benchmark their progress, demonstrate action towards a more sustainable future, as well as differentiating themselves from the competition.
Further information: https://sustainablehospitalityalliance.org/benchmarking-tool-announced/
Banksia Sustainability Awards
The 35th National Banksia Sustainability Awards are now open celebrating Australia’s innovative spirit and dedication to sustainability. The awards seek to highlight outstanding initiatives, individuals, and organisations contributing to a more sustainable Australia. Sponsored by Tourism Australia this year’s awards feature 14 diverse categories from technology to leadership to marketing and communications. Entries close 18 December 2023.
Further information: https://banksiafdn.com/awards-categories/
Education & Training
Tassie Tourism Ambassador Program
The Tassie Tourism Ambassador Program has been created for the tourism industry to equip tourism and hospitality staff and interested locals. It aims to empower staff working in customer-facing businesses to provide a positive experience for every visitor with whom they come into contact. Facilitated by Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, the program is delivered in partnership with local and regional tourism and businesses.
Further information: https://tassietourismambassador.com.au/
Tourism and International Education Sector Inquiry
The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade has commenced an inquiry into the post COVID-19 recovery of Australia’s tourism and international education sectors. The inquiry will explore the challenges and opportunities presented to both sectors since the reopening of Australia’s borders. Submissions are due by 12 December 2022.
Certification & Accreditation
Certified Gorilla Friendly
The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network has developed the Certified Gorilla Friendly program for endangered mountain gorillas found on the border of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda in Africa. The program comprises a Gorilla Friendly Tourism Ecolabel which focuses on the certification of tour operators, lodges, hotels, drivers, and products in communities neighbouring the mountain gorilla habitat. It was developed in consultation with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, conservation, and tourism stakeholders.
Further information: https://igcp.org/tourism/certified-gorilla-friendly/
Global Passenger Survey
The International Air Transport Association has released the 2023 Global Passenger Survey showing that travellers continue to prioritise speedier airport processing and convenience, as well as embracing biometrics to complete pre-departure processes. Passengers also want to fly from an airport close to home, have all booking options and services available in one single place and pay with their preferred payment method. The results are based on over 8,000 responses from more than 200 countries.
Further information: https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/2023-releases/2023-10-25-01/
Value of Cruise Tourism
A new economic impact assessment jointly commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association and the Australian Cruise Association shows Australia’s cruise industry has generated a record A$5.63 billion. The Value of Cruise Tourism was prepared by AEC Group to calculate the direct economic output for tourism operators, hotels and restaurants, retailers, transport providers and port operators generated by cruise tourism in 62 communities across Australia.
Further information: https://www.cruising.org.au/ccms.r
The Big Tour Study
The Travel Corporation has published its first annual study featuring insights on the latest global tour trends. The Big Tour Study aims to provide travel advisors with insight into how travellers are choosing their trips so that they can match the right products to their clients. The comprehensive survey saw over 7,000 respondents with an average household income of $150,000 aimed to reveal the latest tour trends for advisors booking Contiki, Costsaver, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold.
Further information: https://issuu.com/ttc-tour-brands/docs/ttctb-the-big-tour-study
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Report
The World Travel and Tourism Council has produced the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Report which highlights the role governments around the world play in ensuring a single skies approach to managing air traffic as airlines invest in more environmentally-friendly aircraft. The report also recommends that destinations collaborate with the aviation sector to form partnerships that drive forward the development of sustainable transport technologies across all modes of transport.
Conferences & Events
Global Sustainable Tourism Conference
The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden from 23-26 April 2024. The conference will bring together international and domestic tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable travel and tourism.
Further information: https://www.gstcouncil.org/gstc2024sweden/
Global Sustainability Tourism Summit
Ecotourism Australia will hold the inaugural 2024 Global Sustainable Tourism Summit in Brisbane from 4-6 June 2024. The event will explore how all sectors of the visitor economy can address the four pillars of sustainability cultural, environmental, socio-economic, and sustainable business management.
Further information: https://www.ecotourism.org.au/conference