Edition 187 · December 2023
Tony Charters and Associates
Circulated to 10,000 professionals worldwide
Wishing You a Happy and Safe Holiday Season
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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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Macy’s Union Square, on the corner of O’Farrell and Stockton Streets, is supporting the San Francisco SPCA over the holiday period by featuring some of the animals that are up for adoption. The initiative encourages individuals to participate in the spirit of giving, whether by adopting a furry friend, donating, or simply spreading awareness about responsible pet ownership.
Further information: https://www.sftravel.com/article/spend-holidays-macys-san-francisco-spca
Funding & Grants
Queensland Destination Event Program
The Queensland Destination Events Program Round 27 is open to events that will be staged between September 2024 to September 2025. The program aims to leverage the link between events and the destinations in which they are staged, extending the economic and social benefits throughout metropolitan and regional Queensland. Applications close 1 February 2024.
Building Bush Tourism Fund
The Building Bush Tourism Fund will provide financial support to tourism operators, not-for-profit organisations, and local governments to create new or enhanced tourism, social and community infrastructure or deliver community and cultural experiences that will grow regional participation and attract visitors to the region. Funding will be available for projects including heritage buildings, cultural institutions, aquatic and recreation facilities, arts, and music festivals, walking tracks, and lookouts. Applications close 1 February 2024.
Further information: https://www.dtis.qld.gov.au/tourism/funds/building-bush-tourism
Entrada Acquires Greyhound
The largest integrated tourism and transport company in Australasia has acquired leading coach company Greyhound Australia. The Entrada Travel Group operates a diverse range of brands including New Zealand’s largest land-based passenger transport operator InterCity. The acquisition is the latest step in the group’s trans-Tasman expansion which includes Tusa Reef Tours, Divers Den, and Frankland Islands, as well as operating the Daintree River Vehicle Ferry and two new vehicle ferries in Noosa.
Further information: https://entradatravelgroup.com/news-release-greyhound-australia/
Work and Wander Program
Azamara Cruise’s Work and Wander program is a travel experience designed for business professionals seeking a balance between productivity and adventure. It is designed to meet the demands of the modern workcation with a comprehensive setup including monitor, mouse, keyboard, and adapters along with high-speed internet. Should any technical questions arise, there is a Guest Relations desk available around the clock to ensure a smooth IT experience.
Further information: https://www.azamara.com/au/work-and-wander
Brisbane Airport Expansion
Brisbane Airport is starting a $5 billion makeover to improve usability, sustainability, and capacity ahead of the Olympic and Para Olympic Games in 2032. The Future Brisbane investment program consists of 150 projects to transform the airport and create a better experience to cater for Queensland’s growing population. The domestic terminal will have new additions including an upgrade to allow passengers who have already checked in and only have carry-on baggage to enter security directly.
Further information: https://newsroom.bne.com.au/biggest-transformation-in-brisbane-airport-history/
Pelorus Private Island
Pelorus Private Island near Townsville is the latest jewel in the Northern Escape Collection crown, offering travellers a secluded hideaway amongst the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and access to nearby Hinchinbrook Island, Australia’s largest island national park. The island provides a range of bespoke activities including diving and snorkelling, guided jet ski and sea bob tours, reef fishing, access to the Museum of Underwater Art and boat charters.
Further information: https://pelorusprivateisland.au
Avani Mooloolaba Beach
The new $250 million hotel has opened on the corner of Brisbane Road and First Avenue at Mooloolaba on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. The new 4.5-star boutique hotel will have 180 rooms catering to solo travellers, couples, groups, and families. It features four distinctive restaurants, state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities, spa, and a rooftop bar and pool with 180-degree water views.
Infrastructure & Investment
Larrakia Cultural Centre
The Larrakia Cultural Centre is a project of the Larrakia Development Corporation and will be built at the Larrakia sacred site at Stokes Hill. The centre will showcase Larrakia history, arts, crafts, and feature a signature restaurant with views of Darwin Harbour. It will remain in Larrakia ownership for future generations and is being supported by funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account, the Australian Government, and the Northern Territory Government Aboriginal Tourism Grant Funding.
Further information: https://www.larrakiaculturalcentre.com.au/
American Heartland Theme Park
A new theme park in northeast Oklahoma is set to be the same size as Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park. The American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will feature Americana-themed rides, live shows, family attractions, a film and television studio, large-scale RV park with cabins, as well as a 300-room hotel and indoor water park.
Further information: https://www.americanheartlandthemepark.com/
Technology & Innovation
The World Tourism Organisation is joining with Infecar to identify entrepreneurs playing a key role in reshaping the hotel and new business model landscapes. The startup competition for Tourism Technologies and Solutions in Hotels and New Business Models will award 10 finalists with the best solutions in the categories of innovations in digital hospitality, business models, and sustainability impact. Applications close 29 January 2024.
World Heritage Listed Food
Italy could soon receive World Heritage Recognition for its food. The Italian Government has nominated the nation’s cuisine to be on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The movement aims to celebrate the exceptional range of the nation’s cuisine and to promote the universal value of Italy’s gastronomic culture. The art of Neapolitan Pizzaiolo (Neapolitan-style pizza making) was added in 2017 and a decision won’t be made until December 2025.
Further information: https://ich.unesco.org/en/lists
Adopt A Whale
The Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui has expanded its Adopt a Marine Animal program. Travellers are now able to adopt humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales. The annual package includes a certificate, information, e-mail updates on adopted animal sightings, opportunities to engage with Pacific Whale Foundation, and additional fun facts and updates from our Research, Education and Conservation programs.
Further information: https://www.pacificwhale.org/you-can-help/adopt-marine-animal/
Sunshine Coast Airport has become Australia’s first airport to install a digital accessible wayfinding solution to help passengers navigate its facilities. The BindiMaps technology was designed with input from hundreds of users who are blind or vision-impaired to ensure the highest levels of accessibility and inclusivity. It uses a network of Bluetooth beacons and smartphone sensors with a choice of text, map view, or audio directions that guides users through the airport using accurate, real-time, and step-by-step directions to any destination.
Further information: https://www.sunshinecoastairport.com.au/corporate/media/media-releases/sunshine-coast-airport-first-airport-in-australia-to-install-bindimaps-improving-accessibility-for-passengers-of-all-abilities/
Accessible Caravan Sector
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has announced a partnership with Accessible Accommodation (The Accessible Group) to deliver accessible visitor experiences in the caravan and camping sector. The collaboration aims to ensure inclusivity by catering to the diverse needs of this sector which appeals to a wide demographic. The partnership signifies a crucial step in advancing accessible tourism within the industry, making caravan experiences accessible and enjoyable for all travellers.
Bluey’s World in Brisbane
A unique immersive experience celebrating the beloved hit TV show Bluey is coming to Queensland in August 2024. Bluey’s World will be in the new Brisbane Northshore arts and entertainment precinct with its own purpose-built, state-of-the-art venue. Visitors will journey through a recreation of Bluey’s home via life-size sets, interactive play, and soundscape. Created by Joe Brumm, Bluey is produced by Emmy Award-winning Ludo Studio for ABC KIDS and is now broadcasting and streaming in more than 60 countries.
Further information: https://www.bluey.tv/blueys-world/
Great Croatian Road Trip
The Croatian National Tourist Board has launched The Great Croatian Road Trip campaign on social media platforms to position Croatia as a sustainable and easily accessible destination. The aim is to promote travel outside of the main summer months, highlight accessibility and encourage travellers to explore all Croatian destinations. Activity will run in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, and Sweden.
Agritourism Development Strategy
Australia’s Golden Outback in Western Australia has released its Agritourism Development Strategy 2023- 2030. Developed with contributions from the region’s local agricultural and tourism industry, the strategy will guide activities within the agritourism space. It also aims to drive the growth of agritourism experiences in the Golden Outback region.
Further information: https://www.australiasgoldenoutback.com/about-us
New World Heritage Sites
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation has unveiled 27 new World Heritage Site designations. Among them are a range of diverse culturally significant areas including sacred temples in Cambodia, ancient tea forests in China, and historic European towns. To be added to the list a natural or cultural site must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one of 10 other criteria for selection.
Further information: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2608
Mutawintji National Park Geotrail
A new geotrail experience has been launched to help visitors explore Mutawintji National Park in New South Wales. The area preserves numerous Aboriginal art and cultural sites, while its landscape is a haven for diverse plants and animals. The project provides an interactive experience for visitors as they walk the bush trails and beautiful outback rocky landscapes in the park. It follows the launch of geotrails in the Warrumbungles, Newcastle and Port Macquarie.
Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council
The South Australian Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council has been established to drive the development of authentic Aboriginal tourism products and experiences in the state. The new professional tourism association is specific to Aboriginal-owned tourism businesses in South Australia and is being modelled on the successful Western Australia Indigenous Tourism Operators Council which has achieved outcomes for Aboriginal tourism, business owners, and economic development for over 20 years.
Further information: https://ticsa.com.au/media-release/saatoc/
The Geluxe Collection
G Adventures has launched the Geluxe Collection, a new style of travel with 28 trips that focus on being physically active, with one-of-a-kind accommodation, elevated dining, community, and culture. The ‘Your OMG Day’ gives travellers the opportunity to personalise one of their days by picking between two different travel experiences on each trip.
Further information: https://www.gadventures.com/travel-styles/geluxe/
Tap Water for All
Leading international development organisation Just a Drop has announced a new initiative alongside a strategic partnership with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. Tap Water for All is a simple yet powerful initiative that targets restaurants, hotels, resorts, and all hospitality venues. Guests will have the option to add to their bill when choosing tap water with their meal which will be used to provide safe water to communities in need across the globe.
Further information: https://www.justadrop.org/tap-water-for-all
Earth, People and Community Initiative
BWH Hotels has pledged its commitment to environmental and social responsibility through the launch of its new Earth, People and Community initiative. The program offers hotels practical, cost-saving solutions to drive sustainable development that meets the evolving expectations of guests. The goal is to strengthen one community at a time by partnering with hoteliers and providing the necessary tools to enact meaningful change. The global hospitality network of 4,300 hotels in over 100 countries worldwide comprises three brands including WorldHotels, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and SureStay Hotels.
Further information: https://joinbwhhotels.com.au/sustainability/
U.K.-based Invisible Cities is a nonprofit social enterprise that works with local organisations to train people experiencing homelessness to become walking tour guides and offer alternative tours to tourists and locals. It prioritises teaching transferable skills that are necessary to become a great guide, as well as serve in future pursuits including public confidence building, public speaking, customer service, and group management. It currently operates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, York, Cardiff, and Liverpool, with plans to expand to Milan in Italy.
Further information: https://invisible-cities.org/
Policy & Planning
Tourism for All
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has joined with key partners to make tourism more accessible to all through the San Marino Action Agenda 2030. The new agenda includes measures to advance training, develop measurement systems and increase industry awareness of the advantages of a diverse workplace. It will also allow stakeholders to align their marketing and commercial strategies and use digital solutions to help accessible experiences reach all customers and mainstream accessibility in their product development and decision-making processes.
National Sustainability Framework
The Australian Government, State, and Territory Governments have endorsed the National Sustainability Framework for the Visitor Economy which provides a nationally agreed understanding of sustainable tourism and a vision for Australia to be a world leader in sustainable tourism. The framework is the first of its kind for Australian tourism and outlines the 4 pillars of sustainable tourism and priorities for action including protecting the environment, respecting, and nurturing cultures, and empowering local communities.
Digital Nomad Visas
According to a new analysis by the World Tourism Organisation covering 54 destinations, the number of destinations offering Digital Nomad Visas has risen significantly over recent years. The visas allow individuals to live and work in a foreign country while maintaining employment or conducting freelance work for employers or clients in their home or another country. Destinations are also using the visa to attract professionals from creative and technology fields to stimulate these areas nationally.
Destination British Columbia has launched their latest industry resource for tourism businesses and destinations. The Vancouver, Coast and Mountains Sustainability Playbook guides users through a step-by-step process of measuring baseline performance and creating an action plan for improvement. It was designed using global best practices and input from regional partners.
Environmental Impact of Global Tourism
The World Travel and Tourism Council has unveiled The Environmental Impact of Global Tourism Report in partnership with Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, Sustainable Tourism Global Centre, and supported by Oxford Economics. It provides data crucial to steering the sector towards its sustainable goals by providing estimates on environmental indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water use, air pollutant emissions, and material extraction.
Education & Training
The Education Toolkit
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has released a guide of recommendations for the introduction of tourism as a subject of the secondary school curricula with the goal of attracting and cultivating the right talent for the tourism sector. The Education Toolkit Promoting Tourism in Secondary Education provides an overview of the status of high schools and vocational education training worldwide, and case studies of integrating tourism education and training in public and private schools.
Tourism and Hospitality Careers Guide
Tourism Western Australia has created a guide full of inspiration, ideas, and guidance for anybody looking to get into tourism and hospitality as a career.
Further information: https://westernaustralia.jobs/
Certification & Accreditation
Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard
The Pacific Tourism Organisation has launched the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard, setting a new benchmark in responsible and sustainable tourism practices in the Pacific region. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council has also officially recognised the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard as equivalent to its own criteria. The development of the standard was made possible through funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Amadeus’ annual Travel Trends research uses proprietary data, industry-leading insight, and expert analysis from across the global travel technology company to forecast major trends for the year ahead. It has identified five new developments within the themes of creating more meaningful travel experiences for the planet, economy, and the traveller.
Virtuoso has released its 2024 Luxe Report which predicts what lies ahead for luxury travellers across more than 50 countries. The annual report focuses on consumer preferences for high-end luxury and experiential travel, as well as identifying key trends highlighting how upscale globetrotters are establishing their influence in the travel-sphere. The report is based on feedback from more than 2,000 Virtuoso-affiliated travel agencies and advisors in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
New research by the CSIRO predicts Agritourism will be an important growth industry for Australia’s regional and rural economy over the next decade. International visitor demand is expected to drive most of this growth with visitors from China, United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, and India. It will also depend on how existing regional barriers such as labour shortages and infrastructure quality are addressed, as well as the threat of climate change, extreme weather events and natural disasters which pose long term risks both to demand and supply of agritourism.
Further information: https://research.csiro.au/foodag/premium-interactions/experiences-and-tourism/
Destination Always Report
The Economist Impact, supported by Booking.com, has released a groundbreaking report that explores the theme of travel as a force for good. The Destination Always report explores and quantifies the economic, environmental, and social impacts of overnight visitors in 50 cities and non-urban regions globally. It also provides a framework and a toolkit for destinations to assess their performance, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and design their strategies for improvement.
Further information: https://impact.economist.com/perspectives/economic-development/destination-always
Creating Belonging Report
A report from the World Travel and Tourism Council produced in collaboration with HospitableMe delves into the important topic of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. The report provides a meaningful guide on how to navigate and promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging within the travel and tourism sector. The report educates readers on the nuances around terms and provides recommendations on how to measure future progress based the quantitative analysis of the present landscape in a few key markets around the world.
Sustainable Future for Travel
Intrepid Travel commissioned The Future Laboratory to produce a report envisaging the ways in which the climate crisis is affecting and will continue to affect the travel landscape. The Sustainable Future for Travel: From Crisis to Transformation report explores the remapping of popular tourism destinations and calls for action from key players in the sector by showcasing the social, cultural, and technological changes through to 2040 and beyond. The report also considers the mindsets, values and behaviours of Generation Alpha and their impending impact.
Further information: https://www.thefuturelaboratory.com/blog/intrepid-travel
Business Travel Index Outlook
A report from the Global Business Travel Association shows the business travel sector is expected to surpass its pre-pandemic spending level. The 2023 Business Travel Index Outlook – Annual Global Report and Forecast attributes this growth to pent-up post-pandemic demand, more favourable global economic conditions, and recession risks. The index also identifies several factors which could influence the industry’s longer-term forecast including an increased focus on sustainability initiatives, widespread adoption of meeting technologies, growth in the remote workforce and the rise of blended travel.
Further information: https://www.gbta.org/wp-content/uploads/GBTA-BTI-2023_Executive-Summary-FINAL.pdf
Conferences & Events
Destination Australia Conference
The Destination Australia Conference will take place at the International Convention Centre, Sydney on 13 March 2024. The event provides an opportunity to focus on the sustainable growth of Australian tourism as we enter the next phase for our industry.
Further information: https://events.tourism.australia.com/destinationaustralia2024
Global Sustainable Tourism Conference
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council Global Conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden from 23-26 April 2024. The event aims to unite global and local tourism professionals engaged in advancing and advocating for sustainable travel and tourism.
Further information: https://www.gstcouncil.org/gstc2024sweden/