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  Ecotourism Industry Development
 
 
Tony Charters has a strong background in nature-based recreation and ecotourism developments. Through various positions in public, private and not for profit sectors, he acquired expertise in promoting projects which still contribute to the growth of Ecotourism industry in Australia.
   
 
Today, he still works closely with Ecotourism Australia, the national peak body of ecotourism industry, developing and managing numerous innovative projects and programs including:
   
 
• The Eco-Certification program
• Cairns Charter on Partnerships for Ecotourism
• The Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and Ecotourism Australia
• National Ecotourism Conferences
 
 
Within Tourism Queensland as Director of the Environmental Tourism department for 5 years, he managed the full implementation of the 1997 Queensland Ecotourism Plan. He oversaw the development and launch of the 2003-2008 Queensland Ecotourism Plan.
   
 
He also conceived and co-ordinated the development of the Ecotourism Rapid Assessment Model (ECORAM) to assist intending ecotourism projects developers to assess the potential of projects and destinations.
   
  Tony Charters is also involved in the development of industry standards as expert in Finalist’s Selection Committees for Tourism Awards and as member of the Eco Certification NAtional Committee
   
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Ecotourism Australia

Ecotourism Australia is a non-profit organisation formed in 1991. The association has a many different members including industry sector; ecotourism accommodation; tours and attractions; protected area managers; students; tourism; environmental, interpretation consultants and other local and regional associations.
 
     
Its mission statement includes: developing and adopting standards for sustainable practices; increasing the professionalism of those working within the tourism industry; assisting operators to improve the quality of interpretation; and improving financial viability for operators who adopt sustainable practices.
 
This association aims to develop best practices in tourism and consolidate the growth of ecotourism.
 
Tony has been closely involved in Ecotourism Australia at different levels of the organisation, and played a key role in the development of important program such as:
     
  - The Eco-Certification Program launched in 1996, exported today internationally through The Green Globe 21 International Ecotourism Standard.  
  - The Cairns Charter on Partnerships for Ecotourism which supports the establishment and operation of ecotourism partnerships;  
  - The Memorandum of Co-operation between UNESCO and Ecotourism Australia a partnership which launched the Eco-Escapes programme.  
  - Moreover, he convened four National Ecotourism Conferences and the 2002 International Ecotourism Conference.  
     
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Eco Certification Program

Tony Charters was the chair of the National Working Committee that developed the Eco Certification Scheme – launched in 1996. This certification program, now in its ninth year and in its third generation was the first ecotourism certification program in the world and is still regarded as the leading scheme globally. Tony has retained an active role with the Eco Certification scheme and is the National Chair of the Eco Certification Management Committee.
 
The Eco Certification scheme was developed in Australia by industry for industry, it aims to identify genuine ecotourism and nature tourism operators.
Now this program with augmentation associated with Green Globe 21 is exported to the rest of the world as the International Ecotourism Standard.
 
There are three various levels of certification – Nature Tourism, Ecotourism and Advanced Ecotourism – established according to specific assessment criteria. The Ecotourism Accreditation Program provides ten main criteria. The tourism operator has to focus on personally experiencing nature to greater understanding and appreciation.
 
There are three levels of certification:
       
 
All Eco-certified products are independently audited
There are three steps:
  1. Self-assessment
2. Initial desktop verification
3. Independent audit undertaken within the 3 year life of the program
 
 
ECO contains 10 comprehensive criteria across:
       
  • Economic sustainability
1. Business management and operational planning
2. Business ethics
3. Responsible marketing
4. Customer satisfaction

  • Environmental sustainability
5. Natural area focus
6. Environmental management
7. Interpretation and education
   
  • Social sustainability
8. Contribution to conservation
9. Working with local communities; and
10. Cultural respect and sensitivity
 
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Cairns Charter

Tony Charters was Chair of the Cairns Charter Steering Committee.
 
The draft Charter was developed during Ecotourism Australia's conference 21-25th October 2002 at Cairns, Queensland.
The final Charter reflects input received during a public consultation period.
 
The Cairns Charter on Partnerships for Ecotourism is built on the principles of the Quebec Declaration and aims to provide guidance on the development of ecotourism partnerships; encourage and support the establishment of ecotourism partnerships; and outlines a post-IYE (International Year of Ecotourism-2002) of ecotourism partnerships action plan.
 
The Charter is composed of 8 articles in order to promote successful partnerships. The articles include indigenous communities; local communities; government and inter-governmental organisations; non-governmental organisations; ecotourism businesses; financial institutions and development agencies; training, education and research organisations; and media and marketing organisations.
 
The Charter emphasises the benefits of partnerships for ecotourism such as best practice information; the development of a competitive advantage; the creation of new products, services or value-added packages; the protection of community values and the conservation of natural resources.
 
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Co-operation between UNESCO and Ecotourism Australia

UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Ecotourism Australia have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for the Development of a World Heritage Tourism Program and Fund at the Ecotourism Australia National Conference held in November, 2003
 
The partnership aims to create an environment of shared learning and assistance for World Heritage areas between developed and developing countries through the Eco-Escapes programme.
 
The funds generated will be donated to World Heritage Fund for supporting conservation projects, the protection of heritage and the development of sustainable tourism.
 
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National Ecotourism Conference

Each year Ecotourism Australia organises a National Ecotourism Conference. This conference provides a forum for discussion of current issues, solutions and best-practice case studies.
Tony has been conference convenor in 1995, 1996 and from 1998 to 2002.
 
This has involved all components of the conference management – theme setting, speakers program, sponsorship, marketing, professional conference organisation, networking functions, field programs, specialised workshops, trade displays and evaluation.
 
Visit Ecotourism Australia to see the current conference program.
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Tourism Queensland

Tourism Queensland is Australia’s most progressive destination management organisation. Tourism Queensland is a statutory authority of the Queensland government established under the Tourism Queensland Act 1997.
 
 
Tourism Queensland aims to enhance the development and marketing of Queensland’s tourism destinations in partnership with industry, government and the community.
 
Tony Charters was Director of the Environmental Tourism department from 1997 to 1999. He provided policy and strategic advice on environmental tourism and implemented the environmental tourism initiatives of the Queensland Tourism Strategy. He also led the development of innovative projects including:
 
  2003-2008 Queensland Ecotourism Plan  
  Ecotourism Rapid Assessment Model (EcoRam)  
  Self-help publications  
  Ecotourism Research  
   
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2003-2008 Queensland Ecotourism Plan

He was responsible of the development and implementation of the 1997 Queensland Ecotourism Plan and review and launch of the 2003-2008 Queensland Ecotourism Plan.
 
This plan aims to provide a framework for planning, managing and marketing of Queensland’s ecotourism industry to ensure ecotourism in Queensland is ecologically, economically, socially and culturally sustainable.
 
The Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2003-2008 presents and updates the vision and definition of ecotourism contained in the 1997 Queensland Ecotourism Plan.
Today Queensland is recognised as a global leader in ecotourism.
 
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Ecotourism Rapid Assessment Model

He also conceived and coordinated the development of the Ecotourism Rapid Assessment Model – ECORAM.
 
This is a simple guide which provides guidance of the development and assessment of environmental tourism ideas in terms of the features of the site or region; the target market and the infrastructure necessary to achieve a viable product and issues such as community engagement.
 
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Self-help publications

Through the Tourism Queensland Sustainable Tourism Department, Tony led the development of a wide range of industry self-help publications.
   
These publications are useful for tour operators, students, protected area managers, academics, local/state government agencies and community groups and are available for purchase from Tourism Queensland or telephoning (+61) 7 3535 5442.
 
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Ecotourism Research

Tourism Queensland led Ecotourism research aimed at improving knowledge of the ecotourism industry. It provides publications useful for tour operators, students, protected area managers, academics, local/state government agencies and community groups.
   
These publications are available for purchase from Tourism Queensland or telephoning (+61) 7 3535 5442.

 

Industry Standards

Tony Charters serves as expert/judge in Finalist’s Selection Committees for Tourism Awards. His strong experience in the tourism Industry and in ecotourism industry provided him expertise in the development of these industries.
He has been involved in finalist’s selection committees including:
   
 
Finalist’s Selection CommitteeTourism for Tomorrow international awards. One of a group of 12 experts selected globally, and the only Australian, to undertake the selection process for this internationally respected award.
   
 
Finalist’s Selection Committee for the World Legacy Awards – a global awards scheme established jointly by Conservation International and National Geographic. The only Australian on this selection committee.
 
 
Industry Certification
Tony Charters has been actively involved in the development of Ecotourism certification both nationally and internationally through his founding role in the Eco Certification Scheme and the International Ecotourism Standard.
Additionally, he serves on the Commonwealth Tourism Ministers Tourism Accreditation Portal Advisory Committee – an initiative of the Hon Fran Bailey for Tourism and Small Business.
 
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Eco Tourism Consultant Tourism Consultant Marketing Consultant Ecotourism Sustainable Tourism Destination Development Recreation Concept Design Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement Public Private Partnership Development Market Research Analysis Social Economic Impact Assessment World Heritage Protected Areas Conservation

 
Tony Charters and Associates