DestinationQ Forum 2023 program

The annual DestinationQ Forum is Queensland’s leading tourism industry event.

It brings government and industry leaders together to consider the future of the industry, discuss key tourism and events issues, and prioritise to keep Queensland competitive as a destination.

DestinationQ Forum 2023 is delivered by the Queensland Government, through the Department of Tourism and Sport and Tourism and Events Queensland, partnering with the industry through the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

The 12th DestinationQ Forum will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre on Thursday 23 November 2023.

Event program

7.45-8.30am Registration  
8.30am Welcome and opening Welcome to Country and official opening of the 2023 DestinationQ Forum. 
MC Jillian Whiting

Session 1:

Working Together Towards Tourism 2032

How do we best achieve the Towards Tourism 2032 targets and meet its vision? In this panel session hear first hand from the heads of key Queensland Government departments and agencies on how they are working together with the tourism industry to achieve $44 billion overnight visitor expenditure target for Queensland by 2032.


  • Director-General Andrew Hopper, Tourism and Sport
  • Dep. Director-General, Andrew Mahon, Transport and Main Roads
  • Dep. Director-General, Ben Klaassen, Environment and Science
  • Dep. Director-General, Kirsten Herring, Arts Queensland
  • Dep. Director-General, Max Wise (Disability, Seniors and Carers), Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services
  • Justin McGowan, CEO Trade and Investment Queensland
  • Patricia O’Callaghan, CEO Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Dominique Lamb, Small Business Commissioner
Morning Tea

An opportunity to network with fellow attendees and sponsors in the Business and Accessibility Hub.

Session 2:

Embracing Accessible Tourism now and beyond 2032

Accessible tourism is a growing market and with 2023 the Year of Accessible Tourism in Queensland, this session will highlight how embracing an inclusive approach makes good business sense. Learn from tourism operators about their journey to discover the how and why of accessible tourism and hear firsthand the impact inclusive tourism experiences can make.

Interview: Dylan Alcott AO, former Australian of the Year, Founder Dylan Alcott Foundation and Shift20 Initiative.

Facilitator: Mark Olsen, CEO Tourism Tropical North Queensland


  • Dylan Alcott AO, former Australian of the Year, Founder Dylan Alcott Foundation and Shift20 Initiative
  • Greg McKinnon, Owner, Big4 Whitsundays
  • Lauren Horner, Community & Partnerships Manager, Village Roadshow
  • Mathew May, Operations Manager, Paradise Resort Gold Coast
  • Stephanie Agnew, Senior Consultant, Get Skilled Access

Session 3:

Focus to the Future

Expanding on the forum theme of Build and Focus, speakers in this session will look at how we are setting the foundations for the future, the opportunities ahead and how we can maximise these for tourism towards 2032.

Elevate 2042

The Tourism and Events Pathway to 2032

  • Patricia O’Callaghan, CEO Tourism Events Queensland

Destination IQ Summary and Outcomes

Cameron Costello, Deputy Chair Queensland Tourism Industry Council(QTIC), QTIC Indigenous Working Group & Traditional Owner

Lunch An opportunity to network with fellow attendees and sponsors in the Business and Accessibility Hub

Session 4:

Economic resilience in the tourism Industry

Our world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, from COVID-19, rising geopolitical tensions, inflation and now risks of a sharp downturn. This session will look at key short and longer term drivers of growth in the tourism sector, and how to be prepared to maximise the potential of your business.

Keynote: Nicki Hutley, Economist

Session 5:

Sustainability as a catalyst for change

How can we harness sustainability as a catalyst for change in the tourism industry? In this panel session you’ll hear from Queensland tourism and events operators about their business’ sustainability priorities, challenges and aspirations for the future.

Facilitator: Stewart Moore, Founder and CEO, EarthCheck


  • Amy Gash, General Manager Brand and Strategy, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort
  • David Neal, Co-owner, Mitchell Grass Retreat
  • Fraser Nai, Co-founder Strait Experiences and Traditional Owner Torres Strait Experiences
  • Geoff Meyer, Managing Director, Ironman Group Oceania
Afternoon tea An opportunity to network with fellow attendees and sponsors in the Business and Accessibility Hub

Session 6:

Motivation to keep the momentum

A positive session to end the day that poses the question: how do we stay motivated to keep the momentum to achieve the Towards Tourism 2032 targets.

Australian marketing and television personality Todd Sampson will provide practical tools, strategies and techniques that show we are all capable of more than we realise.

Keynote: Todd Sampson - Award-winning documentary-maker, television presenter and businessman

5.15pm Networking Function An opportunity to debrief with your fellow tourism industry attendees and share your highlights and learnings from the forum program.

Last updated: 29 Jan 2024