Bright minds gather together at tourism think tank


Michael Warren


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Tourism experts joined at the My Queensland TNQ tourism conference to discuss a range of key issues throughout the day. Image: Michael Warren

Some of the brightest minds in Australasian tourism have gathered for a day long summit as one of the country’s most important sectors continues to slowly find its feet following 24 months of misery because of the COVID pandemic.

A who’s who of tourism including Robert Dougan, Michael Branagh, Louis Arul, Neale Herridge, Jason Brereton, Daniel Finch, Ryan Thomas, Craig Wickham, Penny Rafferty, Simon Pugh, Rod Lockwood, Geoff Meyer and local Cairns and Douglas experts joined together at the My Queensland TNQ tourism conference at a major local hotel to discuss a range of key issues throughout the day.

Those matters included international destination and trade marketing, sustainability and events.
A Panel discussion and Q AND A session were also conducted.

The Speakers

Robert Dougan – Executive general manager, strategy and research – Tourism Australia, Michael Branagh – Group executive, global marketing, Tourism and events Queensland, Louis Arul – Regional vice president Southwest pacific, Singapore Airlines, Neale Herridge – General manager- ATS pacific, Jason Brereton – Managing director, Oceania region, H.I.S Australia, Daniel Finch - Wotif Group managing director, Ryan Thomas - CEO – Ignite travel group, Craig Wickham – Managing director – exceptional Kangaroo Island, Penny Rafferty - Head of sustainability, Tourism Australia, Simon Pugh - Managing director – Essence, Rod Lockwood – Managing director – DE Group, Geoff Meyer – Managing director Oceania - Ironman

Boom announcement for Far North

Meantime, in a boost for the local tourism industry including the Douglas Shire Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director Peter Shelley confirmed the Far North will host a high profiled ATEC get together later this year.

The Cairns convention centre will stage the event from November 21-23 in which more than 300 tourism industry VIPs, key figures and notable personalities will join together to discuss all facets of the industry as it continues to rebound following the COVID pandemic.

“We have more than 30 new experiences in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef including city walks, reef tours, Indigenous operators and rainforest experiences,” Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said from the Pullman International hotel.

“The inbound tour operators will be wowed by the transformation of Cairns with the stunning Esplanade dining precinct, new city hotels and vibrant bar and food scene.

“Having them experience the region first-hand will be integral to rebuilding our key international markets and reclaiming our $1 billion a year export industry for this region.”

An event spokesperson confirmed the ATEC meeting place will run for three days and feature business to business workshops, a conference, programs for buyers to become familiar with new products and relationship building opportunities.

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