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25 Aug, 2008

Tourism Australia Performance Audit Boosts Cause of Transparency in Tourism

The cause of transparency and good governance in travel & tourism organisations worldwide has taken a huge step forward with the publication of an Australian government audit of about A$184 million worth of marketing service contracts by Tourism Australia, as well as conflict of interest issues amongst its board of directors. Although the audit notes […]


18 Aug, 2008

Economic Crisis Means Bleak Days Ahead for Australian Tourism

Although Australian tourism is preparing for a publicity windfall following the projected release of the movie “Australia” later this year, its future outlook is almost entirely at the mercy of oil prices and the strength of the Aussie dollar, according to its national forecasting body. Says the latest report by Australia’s Tourism Forecasting Committee, “For […]


17 Aug, 2008

China’s 2008 Olympics the best ever, yet ceaselessly maligned in the Western media

Originally Published: 17 Aug 2008 After the Beijing Olympics 2008 end next week, China should undertake a careful study of the media coverage to pinpoint what has been a clearly designed campaign to play up all that is supposedly wrong with it and downplay its phenomenal eight-year effort to host the best Olympics ever. In […]


11 Aug, 2008

Telecoms Sector Offers Alternative to Travel

Advances in information and communications technologies (ICTs) which have facilitated the growth of global travel & tourism industry are set to play an increasing role in both reducing and managing the growth still to come. Those same technologies that greatly assisted the development of reservation and payment systems that helped low cost airlines shake the […]


4 Aug, 2008

Malaysia Seeks Larger Share of Islamic Travel Market

KUALA LUMPUR — Although its branding tag-line presents itself as “Truly Asia,” Malaysia is seeking to build on its Islamic credentials to capture a dominant share of the Islamic market. Presenting a marketing blueprint to an Islamic tourism conference here last week, Tourism Malaysia Director General Mirza Mohammad Taib noted that Malaysia is the second […]


3 Aug, 2008

Developing Countries Thinking & Acting Smart, Learning to Hold their Ground

Originally Published:  3 Aug 2008 The collapse of the World Trade Organisation talks is yet another sign of shifting global geopolitics as developing countries become smarter, understand the tricks and traps, and stick together in the face of attempts to play them off and pressure them into accepting bad deals. It is also a triumph […]


28 Jul, 2008

PATA CEO Job Now Open

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) In a move that should pave the way for a long overdue organisational revamp, the Pacific Asia Travel Association has begun the search for a new President and CEO to replace Peter de Jong following his planned exit by April 2009. In a letter to Board […]


21 Jul, 2008

Coming Next: “Mental Health Tourism”

You’ve heard of “medical tourism” and “health and wellness tourism”. Now, get ready for a new one: “Mental Health Tourism.” A paper presented by a group of Japanese researchers at the Asia Pacific Tourism Association annual conference in Bangkok last week says that this form of tourism would be specifically targetted at urban dwellers suffering […]


20 Jul, 2008

Islam’s Last Stand?

Originally Published: 20 July 2008 Islam’s last stand? The stand-off with Iran has put the United States / Israel and all the other anti-Iran antagonists in a situation where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It should also be a tremendous learning experience for the rest of the Islamic world […]


7 Jul, 2008

Transparency Pressure Pressure Piles Up on PATA

Another former chairman of the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association has backed calls for good governance and transparency, warning that “if things do go off the rails, and the law steps in, it can get very ugly.” The comment by Jon Hutchison, the PATA Chairman between 1997/98, is doubly significant because he chaired a Task […]


6 Jul, 2008

US Palestinians Plan Historic Unity Conference

Originally Published: 6 July 2008 Palestinians in the United States are preparing for what they call a historic unity conference in Chicago during the weekend of August 8, 2008, the 60th anniversary of Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe). “At a moment when the Palestinian community and Palestinian rights are under severe attack, Palestinian community organisers and leaders […]


30 Jun, 2008

Lone Aussie Monastic Town Seeks Visitors, And Monks

About 135 kms northeast of Perth, a little village said to be Australia’s only Benedictine monastic township wants more visitors — and more monks.


23 Jun, 2008

Australia Tourism Struggles To Cope With Slowdown

PERTH: Affected by high fuel costs and the strength of its currency, the Australian tourism industry is struggling to deal with what appears to be a pronounced slowdown in visitor arrivals. The industry ended 2007 with a fractional arrivals growth of 2.5% to 5.6 million. In Jan-April 2008, visitor arrivals totalled 1.9 million, unchanged over […]


22 Jun, 2008

Call for Israeli Apology to Palestinians As a Prelude To Peace

Originally Published: 22 June 2008 Barely a few months after this column forecast that one day Jews would have to apologise to the Palestinians, a dissident Jewish peace activist has suggested that an Israeli President or Prime Minister do just that, and even drafted a “historic speech” that could be delivered on the occasion. Writing […]


20 Jun, 2008

Review Travel Advisories, Says “Australia 2020” Report

A high-level report submitted to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calls for the advisories to be reviewed because they affect Australia’s wider goals of promoting cultural exchange and travel for education.


18 Jun, 2008

Aussies Invest A$3.75b in M.I.C.E. Infrastructure

New travel & tourism infrastructure to the value of an estimated AU$3.75 billion has emerged recently all over Australia, and is continuing to emerge.


16 Jun, 2008

Former PATA Chairman Calls for Deep Financial Audit, Membership Survey

(TTR Weekly Editor Don Ross contributed to this report) A former chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association has made an unprecedented public call for a comprehensive probe into PATA’s financial management as well as a thorough membership survey to determine its future directions. Responding to the recent travel trade press reports about errors in […]


16 Jun, 2008

As Growth Stalls, Oz Battles Winds Of Change

The Australian Tourism industry ended 2007 with a fractional arrivals growth of 2.5% to 5.6 million. The impact on aviation of high fuel costs, and the strong Australian dollar are among the factors being cited for the lackluster performance of the A$81 billion industry.


13 Jun, 2008

India Says Travel Advisories Should Go

The Tourism and Culture Minister Mrs. Ambika Soni has urged member countries of the UN World Tourism Organisation to back off from issuing knee-jerk travel advisories.


12 Jun, 2008

Ex-PATA Chairman Calls For Independent Financial Probe

A former chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association has called for a comprehensive probe into PATA’s financial management as well as a thorough membership survey to determine its future directions.


10 Jun, 2008

India Wary As Chinks Emerge In Its Economic Armour

Although India’s economic strength and growth potential dominates the headlines, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also notes that “the most important lesson of the 20th Century is that no nation is an island into itself.” 


9 Jun, 2008

U.S. Frequent Flyers Cutting Back on Travel

American frequent air travellers are cutting back on flying, thanks to lengthy lines for check-in and security screening, flight delays, cancellations, longer flight times, baggage issues and other such hassles, according to a survey commissioned by the US Travel Industry Association. “Compared with other parts of the travel experience including renting cars, staying at a […]


8 Jun, 2008

Ex-White House Spokesman Exposes “Culture of Deception”

Originally Published: 8 June 2008 “I did a lot of Soul Searching,” is how former White House press secretary Scott McClellan described his state of mind when exposing the “marketing strategy” for “selling” the U.S. attack on Iraq, in his new book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.” McClellan […]


6 Jun, 2008

Small Steps Are Best — World Environment Day Message

World Environment Day, commemorated on 5 June, is intended by the United Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and remedial action. This year’s slogan was “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.”


3 Jun, 2008

PATA Faces Questions Over Financial Reporting

A media investigation into the financial affairs of the Pacific Asia Travel Association has raised questions about its compliance with the disclosure requirements of the US Internal Revenue Service and membership reporting requirements of its own by-laws.


2 Jun, 2008

Indian Buddhist Sites Slated For Upgrade

The Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Nalanda are among the 20 “mega-destinations” and “mega-circuits” prioritised for infrastructure investment by India’s Tourism Ministry in the next few years. With foreign visitor inflows having crossed the five million mark in 2007 and domestic tourism booming, thanks to improved air, road and rail linkages, the ministry […]


2 Jun, 2008

Media Probe Yields “Clerical Lapses” in PATA’s IRS Report

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) was last week forced to “update” its filings with the US Internal Revenue Service after a media investigation showed up two instances of a “clerical lapse” that could have seen it face penalties and possible fines. The same investigation by the Bangkok-based travel publication TTR Weekly also showed up […]


25 May, 2008

Are We Finally Seeing The Rise of Moderate Jews?

Originally Published: 25 May 2008 Just under 140 prominent American and Israeli Jews, including diplomats, ex-cabinet ministers and intelligence agents, military staffers, journalists, rabbis and many more, are backing a new political action group established last month to set a “new direction for American policy in the Middle East and a broad public and policy […]


20 May, 2008

Global Billion Tree Campaign Is Now The Seven Billion Tree Campaign

A unique worldwide tree planting initiative, aimed at empowering citizens to corporations and people up to presidents to embrace the climate change challenge, has now set its sights on planting seven billion trees.


19 May, 2008

Sports Events Tourism Benefits “Grossly Overstated”

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia — With national tourism organisations facing increasing demands to sponsor multi-million dollar sports events on the basis of their perceived tourism promotion value, a University of Victoria professor has urged that they take a closer look at the “grossly overstated” figures that are being produced to justify the money. Speaking at the […]


13 May, 2008

Aviation Trends And Safety Risks Identified

A new report by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has identified the local and international trends expected to influence safety over the next three to five years.


12 May, 2008

Aussies Seek to Clear Skilled Migration Visa Backlog

The Australian tourism industry is to be a primary beneficiary of an effort to clear a backlog of applications for temporary skilled migration visas by June 2008. The move is designed to ease the country’s labour market pressures and skills shortages, specifically in the accommodation, catering and retail sectors, and underwrite the competitiveness of Australian […]


11 May, 2008

Indian Leaders Concerned About People Getting Drunk Off Power And Just Getting Drunk

Originally Published: 11 May 2008 Although India is in the news these days mainly for its massive economic growth and market potential, two side-effects are arousing a high degree of nationwide concern: The rise in both corruption and alcohol abuse. Last month, Indian Vice President M. Hamid Ansari delivered a speech in which he lambasted […]


6 May, 2008

Aussies To Clear Skilled Migration Visa Backlog

The Australian tourism industry is to be a primary beneficiary of an effort to clear a backlog of applications for temporary skilled migration visas by June 2008.


5 May, 2008

PATA’S CEO Challenge: A Look Behind The Hype

Although the first PATA CEO Challenge organised in Bangkok between April 29-30 led to an outpouring of ideas and initiatives on the issue of climate change, it failed to deliver on many of its other promised goals.


5 May, 2008

Lowest Turnout Ever At A PATA Conference

The Pacific Asia Travel Association last week sought to keep the focus of its message on the environmental outcomes of its first CEO Challenge conference while downplaying the fact that it recorded the lowest turnout of paying delegates in the history of PATA conferences. At the closing press conference after the two-day event last week, […]


28 Apr, 2008

PATA CEO Challenge Opens, Minus the Keynote Speaker

When the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s PATA CEO Challenge opens here tomorrow morning, most of the association’s own board members will not be present, nor will the keynote speaker, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Citing a number of professional or personal reasons, roughly 50 of the nearly 80-member board will not […]


27 Apr, 2008

NY Times Exposes Pentagon Mind-Bending to Promote Iraq War

Originally Published: 27 April 2008 A New York Times investigation exposing the spin doctors behind the Iraq war has further buttressed assertions that the American people, and the world at large, were lied to about the ongoing conflict. Along with journalists like Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor and Publisher” whose book about the role […]


21 Apr, 2008

WTTC Summit Seeks “New Maturity” In Travel Industry

When the chieftains of some of the world’s largest travel & tourism companies meet for their annual summit in Dubai today (April 21-22), their agenda will reflect both the new realities of the industry as well as the mistakes the industry continues to make in addressing those realities. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), […]


15 Apr, 2008

“Rein in the Destructive Impact of Private Equity Buyouts”

A spokesman for the IUF, a global trades union workers in the hotel and other sectors, says, “Private equity buyouts have been described as a tool for ‘enhancing efficiency in financial markets.’ For workers, the private equity bubbles have been a social disaster.”


14 Apr, 2008

2007 Thai Visitor Profile Analysis Indicates Six Key Trends

The statistical profile of Thailand’s visitor arrivals in 2007, just made public, clearly indicate six major trends that will impact on existing and future marketing and development plans. The final arrivals figure for 2007 as tabulated by country of residence, a far more important indicator of travel trends than by country of nationality, is a […]


13 Apr, 2008

Church Leader Blasts One-Sided Narrative of Holy Land Tours

Originally Published: 13 April 2008 Hundreds of Thai Christians heading for pilgrimage to the Holy Land are being exposed to “propaganda travels that further sway international opinion away from the hard facts of Israeli occupation,” church leaders say. Speaking at a consultation of church-backed tourism watchdog groups in Chiang Mai last week, Dr Prawate Khidarn, […]


9 Apr, 2008

Aviation, Tourism In Climate Change “Danger Zone”

Six major industry sectors – aviation, healthcare, tourism, transport, oil and gas and financial services — are in particular danger from climate change risks, claims professional services organization KPMG.


4 Apr, 2008

Whither PATA? It’s Longest Serving Member Speaks

Alwin Zecha, chairman of the Pacific Leisure Group of companies, is arguably the longest serving member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Just prior to this week’s PATA Board of Directors meetings in Colombo, Mr. Zecha spoke to Don Ross, Editor of TTR Weekly, and Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire, fielding […]


4 Apr, 2008

India A Lucrative Market For Global Luxury Brands

Mr Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry told the Mint Hindustan Times Luxury Conference that India today is no longer a mere testing ground for international luxury brands but a lucrative market in its own right.


3 Apr, 2008

Peace Is The Biggest Issue, Says Sri Lankan Tourism Leader

With the PATA Board and committee meetings under way in Sri Lanka, incoming PATA chairman Hiran Cooray, Deputy Chairman of Jetwing Hotels, Managing Director of Jetwing Travels Sri Lanka, offers some refreshing insights into the current and future of the Asia Pacific travel industry.


1 Apr, 2008

UN Says States Must Refrain From Profiling In Combating Terrorism

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today passed a resolution calling on States to not resort to racial, ethnic or religious profiling while countering terrorism.


31 Mar, 2008

Thai Tourism Sector To Help Subsidise PATA “CEO Challenge”

The Thai tourism industry has stepped in to help prop up the financial fortunes of the PATA CEO Challenge due to be held in Bangkok between April 29-30. In addition to the five million baht subsidy provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the problem-plagued conference on the theme of climate change, the Thailand […]


31 Mar, 2008

UN Climate Change Talks Begin In Bangkok

The UN Bangkok Climate Change talks got underway on Monday, the first major UN-sponsored meeting on climate change after the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007.


25 Mar, 2008

The State of The Asia-Pacific — In Statistics

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has released its annual Statistical Yearbook, the region’s leading compilation of statistical data, which provides a detailed picture of the major economic, social and environmental trends in the region.


24 Mar, 2008

Youth Travel Trends Identified in 2007 Survey

Millions of young people taking to the road each year say that travel is impacting on their values and attitudes, and making them think about wider issues like social justice, poverty and international relations, according to a survey of global youth travel. The survey report, Youth Travel Matters: Understanding the Global Phenomenon of Youth Travel […]


18 Mar, 2008

“Clash Of Civilisations” Debuts At ITB Berlin 2008

For the first time, the topic of a “Clash of Civilisations” topped the programme roster of the ITB Berlin’s “Convention Market Trends and Innovations.”


16 Mar, 2008

Jewish Rabbi: U.S. Officials Quit Over Brothel Visits, But Not for Lying to Start Wars

Originally Published: 16 March 2008 The recent resignation of New York state governor Eliot Spitzer triggered a blitz of global soul-searching analysis in business, economic, political, lifestyle and social publications and weblogs. Perhaps the most enlightened commentary was written by Michael Lerner, the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue-without-walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, Chair of […]


11 Mar, 2008

‘Green Passport’ Campaign Launched At ITB 2008

Green travel tips for the world’s growing number of international tourists were launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


10 Mar, 2008

India, Vietnam to Top List of German Outbound Travel Spots

BERLIN — India and Vietnam are expected to top the list of popular destinations for outbound German travellers by the year 2015, according to a study released at the ITB Berlin last week. The study by Tourism Intelligence International said that the popularity of these new destinations will be one part of a major shift […]


4 Mar, 2008

PATA “CEO Challenge” Itself Facing A Challenge

The PATA CEO Challenge to be held April 29-30 in Bangkok is being hyped as the Asia-Pacific travel industry’s response to climate change. Whether or not the conference makes any difference to alleviating climate change, it is set to have a more immediate and significant bearing on the future of PATA.


3 Mar, 2008

OECD Report Analyses Impact of Globalisation on Tourism SMEs

Helping small & medium sized enterprises in the travel & tourism industry compete and survive in the age of globalisation is the subject of a major report on tourism in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries released by the Paris-based organisation last week. The report examines the effects of increasing globalisation on […]


3 Mar, 2008

Global Business Leaders Sign “Climate Savers” Pact

A business group including leading companies such as Sony, Nokia and Nike has come together to present the Tokyo Declaration, a joint call to tackle the urgent issue of climate change.


2 Mar, 2008

Is globalisation really making the world safe?

Originally Published: 2 Mar 2008 In spite of all the “progress” made in science, technology, telecommunications, economics, medicine, environmental science and many other fields of study, does the average human feel any more safe and secure than before? The yearning to feel safe, secure and at peace is as much a part of human psyche […]


26 Feb, 2008

Worldwatch “Green Economics”: Turning Mainstream Thinking On Its Head

Information about the impact of climate change, and how to help combat it, abounds on the Internet, all available free-of-charge. Like open-source software, many of these practical solutions, creative ideas and research studies are placed in the public domain by those with a passion for the cause, and not pursuing professional profit or private aggrandisement.


25 Feb, 2008

US Convention Industry Asks: Is It Overbuilt?

A study of North American convention and exhibition centres says that the supply-demand balance has matured and that as there is “not enough business to go around”, the future of these centres will depend on how competitive they are. It raises the question: Is the industry overbuilt? Conducted by the hospitality industry consultancy company HVS, […]


21 Feb, 2008

India Launches Handicrafts And Rural Tourism Fairs

To showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and tourism products, the Ministry of Tourism will be organising “Shopping Festivals for Promotion of Handicrafts and Rural Tourism” in six regions of the country every year.


19 Feb, 2008

Cambodia’s ‘Bamboo Railway’ Goes Modern

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Cambodia launched a project that will restore rail traffic between Thailand and Cambodia by 2010.


18 Feb, 2008

New Thai Tourism Minister, But Same Policies

Like with many other aspects of the new government’s thought-process, clear signs are emerging of the tourism policy reflecting the same old directions of the former Thaksin administration –- couched somewhat in terms of language and priority, but largely the same. In his public and official statements, Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Khowsurat is stressing […]


17 Feb, 2008

Australian Jews Laud Historic Apology to Aborigines, Now Let Israel Follow With One to Palestinians

Originally Published: 17 Feb 2008 I salute the people and government of Australia for the historic apology to the indigenous people. And I promise that a day will come, probably not soon but it will come without a shade of doubt, when the Israelis will apologise to the Palestinians for inflicting upon them same kind […]


12 Feb, 2008

Mobile Technology Set to Change Travel Industry Forever

Travel and tourism has been affected significantly by advances in telecommunications, especially mobile communications. New products launched at the Mobile World Congress now underway in Barcelona showed that more change is on the way. The benefits for, and impact on leisure, business and MICE travel are more than apparent.


11 Feb, 2008

Japan Outbound Slumps, Inbound Surges

Japan’s outbound travel boom appears to be over after reporting three years of stagnation. The good news is that Japanese arrivals to Thailand are bucking the trend.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, outbound Japanese travellers totalled 17.4 million in 2005, rose by a fractional 0.8% to 17.5 million in 2006 and are projected to have slumped 1.3% to 17.3 million in 2007. On the other hand, inbound arrivals are surging, from 6.72 million in 2005 to 7.3 million in 2006 and up again by 13.8% to 8.3 million in 2007.

Although the goal of attaining 20 million outbound travellers by 2010 is now looking slightly elusive, the goal of 10 million inbound travellers in the same year is looking well within reach.

Many of the destinations once hugely popular with Japanese visitors are reporting downturns.


7 Feb, 2008

‘Gandhian’ Solutions Urged To Combat Climate Change

The World Future Council (WFC) today launched its operations in India at the international conference on ‘Gandhi, Globalisation and Climate Change’ in New Delhi. The WFC will work with the diverse movements, inspired by Gandhian philosophy, which are creating alternatives based on renewable energy.


5 Feb, 2008

Will Global Trends Make Languages Extinct?

According to UNESCO, 96% of the world’s 6,000 languages are spoken by only 4% of the world’s population; fewer than a quarter of them are used in education and cyberspace, most of them only occasionally.


4 Feb, 2008

IATA Needs A Policy Revamp — Whose Interests Is It Really Serving?

In reporting the latest financial results of its 240 member airlines last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that 2007 was the best in recent memory “despite the ambiguity of strong passenger growth,” weaker freight demand and oil prices being higher than ever. The airline club said that international passenger traffic demand grew […]


3 Feb, 2008

No One is Above the Law

Originally Published: 3 Feb 2008 How many times have we heard this line: “There is no justification for killing of innocent civilians”? The centrepiece of the “war on terror”, this well-known response is invoked each time an act of violence is allegedly committed by “Islamic terrorists.” Now, it appears that there IS a justification for […]


31 Jan, 2008

India To Spend Rs 85,000 Crore On Higher Education

According to India’s Ministry of Human Resources Development, the 11th Plan outlay for Higher Education is roughly Rs. 85,000 Cr. an increase of over 9 times over the 10th Plan outlay.


29 Jan, 2008

Big Business Says Addressing Climate Change ‘Very Low on Agenda’

As the economic crisis raged in 2008, a survey of big business showed that tackling climate change had been ranked 8th on the list of concerns.


28 Jan, 2008

PATA “CEO Challenge” Turnout Target Hit by Stock Market Turmoil

The stock market turmoil of early last week has further diminished the chances of meeting the targetted turnout for the PATA climate change conference due to be held April 29-30, a number of Board members of the Pacific Asia Travel Association have warned. Attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum here last week, board members from the […]


27 Jan, 2008

Global Uncertainty: An Angry India Demands Answers

Indian Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, in an address to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, voiced the concerns of the developing world by raising critical questions about global economic trends, the sub-prime crisis, oil prices, food inflation and the increasing use of bio-fuels.


22 Jan, 2008

Global Survey Highlights Lack Of Faith In World Leaders

The latest findings of a global survey carried out for the World Economic Forum show a lack of faith that the next generation will live in a safer world.


21 Jan, 2008

PATA Blackout on “CEO Challenge” Registrations

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) last Friday released a preliminary programme of its “CEO Challenge” conference on tourism and climate change to be held in Bangkok this April even as it struggled to meet a target of 500 registrations. A PATA spokesperson said a blackout had been placed on releasing information about the number […]


20 Jan, 2008

Palestinians Should Declare an Independent State – NOW!

Originally Published: 20 Jan 2008 In the aftermath of US President George W Bush’s carefully scripted swing through the Middle East, it has become imperative for the Palestinian people to decisively, unilaterally and immediately declare the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no better time, as Israel prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of […]


17 Jan, 2008

India, China Can “Both Compete and Cooperate”

“The rise of China and India should be viewed as an ‘international public good’ by the global community, since it offers new opportunities to sustain global growth,” says Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.


14 Jan, 2008

Tourism Backlash Fears Follow India-Australia Cricket Spat

A serious spat on the cricket field between Australia and India earlier this month has created major image problems for Australia in one of its fastest growing and highest-spending visitor source markets. After spending millions of dollars in recent years cultivating a market that has an average length of stay of 50 nights per visitor, […]


7 Jan, 2008

Backlash Against Branding Gains Ground

Imagine a tourist destination that openly brags about having no McDonalds, Pizza Huts, KFC, Starbucks, Travelodge or Holiday Inns.


6 Jan, 2008

Divisive “Elections” Indicate the Makings of a Polarised World Order

Originally Published: 06 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]


4 Jan, 2008

Do Democratic Elections Really Fulfill Their Lofty Purpose?

Originally Published: 4 Jan 2008 Elections are claimed to be the heart of the democratic process, a kind of panacea for all prevailing ills. But many of the elections and electoral campaigns in 2007 have been violent, dangerous, controversial, divisive, vituperative and hugely expensive. Are they really fulfilling the lofty purpose they are supposed to? […]


24 Dec, 2007

ICAO Issues First Aviation Environmental Report

Responding to the concerns over the impact of aviation on climate change, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued the first of a series of triennial reports on what is being done by the aviation industry to alleviate the problem. The 260-page “ICAO Environmental Report 2007” is downloadable free [http://www.icao.int/env/]. In layman’s language, it […]


23 Dec, 2007

Environmental Conference in Bali: Interlinked “war on terror” and “war on nature”

Originally Published: 23 Dec 2007 In Bali last week for the climate change conference, I could not but help notice the stark similarities in the management of the two most important global threats — the war on terror and the war on nature. Both involve human casualties, direct and indirect. Every week somewhere, an act […]


17 Dec, 2007

Telecoms Target Aviation Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

BALI — Already under fire from environmentalists for its greenhouse gas emissions, the aviation industry is set to come under direct assault from telecommunications and I.T. companies targetting the business travel market. At the UN Framework for Climate Change Conference here last week, executives of Climate Risk Pty Ltd were publicising a report prepared for […]


17 Dec, 2007

Climate Change: Telecom Firms Target Business Travel

Final wrap-up dispatch from the UN Framework on Climate Change Conference in Bali.


13 Dec, 2007

Global Leaders Speak

Five leaders’ speeches, all reproduced in full, provide a useful overview of the key issues at stake at the Bali conference, as well as some succinct bulletpoints for easy insertion into Powerpoint presentations.


12 Dec, 2007

A Traditional Balinese Solution To Climate Change

“We have created such an artificial environment with a range of modem conveniences to the point of total dependency on them. We look up to people who are hectic and busy and consider them to be ideal citizens. As a result, many of us compete fiercely, allowing hardly any time to simply sitting and observing […]


11 Dec, 2007

Watch This New Trend: EcoMobility

More than 30 global companies, business and user associations, expert organizations, local governments and United Nations agencies have joined together in a partnership for the integrated promotion of walking, cycling, wheeling and ‘passenging’ (the use of public transport) in cities.


10 Dec, 2007

EIBT Industry Report Rues Impact of “Age of Turbulence”

Macro, big-picture issues are becoming far greater sources of anxiety than micro trends within the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry, according to a research report presented at a trade show in Barcelona last month. The annual report indicated that while industry issues like airline and hotel capacity, technology and costs were impacting on […]


10 Dec, 2007

Coming Soon: Millions of “Green-Collar” Jobs

Despite the detrimental effects brought on by climate change, new industries to combat global warming could spur employment, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.


9 Dec, 2007

An Open Letter to President George W Bush: God Does Not Love Liars and Killers

Originally Published:09 Dec 2007 AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH. Dear Mr President, It’s just a few days before the spirit of Christmas, and once again, you appear to on the verge of making decisions that will impact my livelihood and the welfare of my family. The fact I have no way of […]


5 Dec, 2007

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Highest On Record

In 2006, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere reached their highest levels ever recorded, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2006 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.


4 Dec, 2007

New Rules Needed For Global Economies, Says Civil Society

A statement co-signed by just under 100 members of civil society, including politicians, scientists, academics, unionists, journalists, was released in Bali on December 3. It calls for a “truly transformational change in the global economy” with a whole new set of rules, incentives, and institutions that will “transition our villages, cities, countries, and world toward […]


3 Dec, 2007

Travel Sectors Mulls Cost and Impact of Climate Change

Although the travel & tourism industry is slowly waking up to the impact of climate change, it is a long way from understanding how it will be affected by the slew of added taxes, costs, policies and mitigation measures set to unfold over time.


26 Nov, 2007

Road Transport Union Seeks Classification System for Tour Coaches

Casablanca, Morocco – The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is attempting to create a uniform global classification system for tour coaches that will give them star ratings, similar to the systems used by hotels. Speaking to the annual congress of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA) here, Mr Oleg Kamberski, Head – Passenger […]


25 Nov, 2007

Another Photo-Op for the “Doctors” Seeking to “Cure” the Middle Eastern Cancer

Originally Published: 25 Nov 2007 Next week, yet another one of the interminable conferences will be convened in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will be the usual gathering of doctors quibbling over the best treatment for a festering cancer even as the patient dies a slow and painful death. The peoples of […]


19 Nov, 2007

Signs of Trouble Emerge for PATA CEO Challenge Summit

LONDON – In spite of the announcement that Dr RK Pachauri, Chairman of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will be a keynote speaker at PATA’s summit on Climate Change, strong signs are emerging that the event to be held in Bangkok in April 2008 is unlikely to meet […]


13 Nov, 2007

Climate Change a “Question of Global Justice”

The WTM London will host a ministerial Summit on Tourism and Climate Change to consider and ratify a Declaration recommended by environmental experts at the UNWTO’s Summit on Climate Change in Davos, Switzerland in October 2007. But there are wider issues at stake,