DestinationQ Forum

The annual DestinationQ Forum is Queensland’s leading tourism industry forum, bringing industry and government together to find ways to grow tourism industry and create jobs.

Thank you to all who participated in the DestinationQ 2016 Forum held in Mackay on 25 October 2016 and helped make it a great success.

The Advancing Tourism 2016-20: Growing Queensland Jobs strategy and the Advancing Tourism in North Queensland supplement were both launched at the DestinationQ 2016 forum.

2016 State of the Industry report, also released at the Forum, outlines the key achievements of the industry over the past year.

The DestinationQ 2016 forum report is currently being prepared and will be posted shortly, together with presentations from the forum.

Forum outline

The forum program (PDF, 676.7KB) outlines proceedings for the forum.

Keynote speakers

Forum attendees heard from the following keynote speakers.

  • Keynote speakers

    Honourable Kate Jones MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism band Major Events

    Honourable Kate Jones MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events

    Kate Jones is committed to helping the state's tourism industry attract a greater share of visitors and delivering the best major events for the Queensland community. Kate has served as Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, since the 16 February 2015, following the election of the Palaszczuk Government. Kate was elected to the seat Ashgrove in 2015, having previously held the seat between 2006 and 2012.

    She attended Kelvin Grove State High School and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Journalism at the Queensland University of Technology and a Masters in Environmental Law at Australian National University.

    Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts

    Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Premier and Minister for the Arts

    Annastacia Palaszczuk was sworn in as Premier of Queensland on 14 February 2015 following the state election on 31 January. Prior to the election, Annastacia had been Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Queensland Parliamentary Labor Party following the March 2012 state election. She has represented the Inala electorate in the Queensland Parliament since September 2006.

    She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of London, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University. Annastacia was the recipient of a British Council Chevening Scholarship enabling her to study for a year in London at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the London School of Economics.

    Damian Walker, Deputy Director-General, Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games

    Damian Walker, Deputy Director-General, Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games

    Recently appointed as Deputy Director-General, Damien Walker previously was the Deputy Director-General of the Office of the Commonwealth Games and of the Tourism Division, also within DTESB, being responsible for a suite of policies, programs and strategies to grow the tourism industry in Queensland.

    Prior to this, Damien held the position of Deputy Director-General within the Department of Housing and Public Works and within the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, both in Queensland Government. He was also the Queensland’s Deputy Coordinator General and held senior executive roles in the South Australian Government in infrastructure planning and delivery, investment facilitation, contract management and reform implementation.

    John O'Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia - Balancing Source Market Portfolios

    John O'Sullivan, Managing Director, Tourism Australia - Balancing Source Market Portfolios

    As Managing Director of the nation's global tourism marketing agency, John is responsible for driving Tourism Australia's strategies to increase demand for Australia's tourism experiences and help to grow the sector to more than $115 billion by the end of the decade as part of the Tourism 2020 strategy.

    John joined Tourism Australia in March 2014. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Fox Sports. John has also held executive positions with Events Queensland (Chief Executive) and Football Federation Australia (Chief Commercial Officer), as well as with the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. John has over 20 years' experience in sports marketing, event management and media across Australia, the UK and the MiddleEast.

    Leanne Coddington, CEO, Tourism and Events Queensland

    Leanne Coddington, CEO, Tourism and Events Queensland

    Leanne brings broad industry knowledge to the role with more than 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry. Leanne has overseen TEQ’s partnerships with Queensland’s regional tourism organisations and industry, leading a range of key areas for the business, such as destination and experience development, industry innovation and aviation attraction.

    She has a degree in Business (Hospitality Management), is an Adjunct Professor at UQ Business School; a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management; and a graduate with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

    Daniel Gschwind, CEO, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)

    Daniel Gschwind, CEO, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)

    Daniel Gschwind represents QTIC, Queensland’s peak tourism industry body, on various committees and advisory boards, including: Tourism Research Advisory Board, University of Queensland Industry Advisory Board, the Griffith Institute for Tourism Advisory Board, the Bond University Regional Advisory Board, the GBRMPA Tourism Reef Advisory Committee (TRAC) and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC).

    Daniel is also a member of Jobs Queensland, the deputy chair of the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), the chair of Australian Tourism Awards, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland Business School and the Honorary Consul of Switzerland for Queensland.

    Master of Ceremonies, Leonie Mellor

    Master of Ceremonies, Leonie Mellor

    Leonie Mellor is a highly regarded journalist with 20 years' experience in print, television and radio and has worked in Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, covering local news, major international events as well as politics at every level. Leonie began her career as a newspaper journalist for the Messenger Group in Adelaide before moving to The Advertiser, then Channel Ten, as State Political Reporter. Leonie now freelances for ABCNews - television and radio and has hosted award ceremonies for government and the corporate sector, fundraisers for charities and art show openings.

Concurrent sessions

Forum attendees had the opportunity to attend two of the concurrent sessions.

The five concurrent sessions were:

  • 1. Transport and Connectivity

    Integrating with local and regional transport networks is important for tourism businesses, especially if they want to benefit from the regional dispersal of visitors. Delegates will hear insights and tips from a panel of speakers on how to harness technology and innovation as part of integrating with transport networks and the benefits that can be achieved through the regional dispersal of visitors.

    Matthew Longland, Deputy Director-General, Policy, Planning and Investment, Department of Transport and Main Roads

    Matthew Longland, Deputy Director-General, Policy, Planning and Investment, Department of Transport and Main Roads

    As Deputy Director-General , Matthew is accountable for setting the future direction of the transport system in Queensland and ensuring that planning and investment across the road, rail, public transport, cycling and freight networks is balanced as part of a single integrated transport network.

    Matthew is Chair of the department’s Infrastructure Investment Committee and works closely with the Commonwealth Government, other state agencies, local government and industry to drive Queensland’s ambitious transport investment program. Matthew is also a board member of the International Association of Public Transport (Australia/New Zealand) and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Planning Institute of Australia and the Urban Development Institute of Australia.


    Professor Andry Rakotonirainy, Deputy Director, Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety, Queensland University of Technology (CARRS-Q)

    Professor Andry Rakotonirainy

    At QUT, Professor Andry Rakotonirainy directs the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Human Factor research program within CARRS-Q, establishing the advanced driving simulator laboratory.

    With 20 years of research and management experience in computer science and advanced expertise in road safety and ITS, Andry has authored over 220 internationally refereed papers in prestigious conferences and journals and has been asked to review internationally competitive grants. Professor Rakotonirainy’s work on ITS has been recognised both nationally and internationally.


    David Thomson, General Manager, SEQ, SeaLink Travel Group

    David Thomson, General Manager, SEQ, SeaLink Travel Group

    David joined Stradbroke Ferries in 2007 as CEO, being responsible for servicing the fast ferry passengers and the vehicle transfer needs of North Stradbroke Island and Southern Moreton Bay.

    The business also operates the Moggill Ferry on the upper reaches of the Brisbane River for Translink and the Queensland Government.

    In November 2015, Stradbroke Ferries was acquired by SeaLink Travel Group. Now General Manager of South East Queensland, SeaLink Travel Group, David is participating in the reincarnation of North Stradbroke Island into an economy based on sustainable tourism.


    James Dixon, Co-Managing Director, Down Under Tours

    James Dixon, Co-Managing Director, Down Under Tours

    James Dixon has spent the past 26 years as Co-owner & Operator of Down Under Tours Australia, which operates a modern fleet of 34 vehicles and employs 72 staff.

    James’ primary role within Down Under Tours has been Sales & Marketing, Operations & Product, which has required extensive domestic and international travel, and given him insight into how to improve and adapt to the constant change required to operate a successful business. James has been heavily involved in marketing Cairns and the Tropical North Queensland region, and is a board member of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Advanced Cairns and TTNQ.

  • 2. Workforce Skills and Quality

    An interactive session focused on sharing and gaining knowledge in relation to skills and jobs for the future workforce and the impact on quality service provision and visitor experiences. A panel of speakers will cover workforce planning, training and quality work together to ensure quality visitor experiences Vocational Education and Training (VET) Investment Plan and future workforce demands; and the role of Jobs Queensland in thetourism industry.

    Daniel Gschwind, CEO, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)

    Daniel Gschwind, CEO, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)

    Daniel Gschwind represents QTIC, Queensland’s peak tourism industry body, on various committees and advisory boards, including: Tourism Research Advisory Board, University of Queensland Industry Advisory Board, the Griffith Institute for Tourism Advisory Board, the Bond University Regional Advisory Board, the GBRMPA Tourism Reef Advisory Committee (TRAC) and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC).

    Daniel is also a member of Jobs Queensland, the deputy chair of the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), the chair of Australian Tourism Awards, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland Business School and the Honorary Consul of Switzerland for Queensland.


    Suzanne Wauchope, Deputy Director-General, Training and Skills, Department of Education and Training

    Suzanne Wauchope, Deputy Director-General, Training and Skills, Department of Education and Training

    As Deputy Director-General, Training and Skills, Suzanne has over 20 years of experience working across a range of public sector agencies and statutory authorities to improve business operations, achieve business outcomes and manage and monitor business risk.

    This includes facilitating strategic planning, operational planning, risk management and business improvement workshops, as well as providing membership and advisory services to program and project steering committees.


    Rachel Hunter, Chairperson, Jobs Queensland

    Rachel Hunter, Chairperson, Jobs Queensland

    As Director of the Southbank Institute of TAFE and Chair of TAFE Queensland, Rachel has extensive experience in the vocational, educational and training sectors. She has delivered a world-class education and training system to more than half a million young Queenslanders and led reform in public service policy and institutions.

    Previously Director-General of the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the (then) Department of Education, Training and the Arts, Rachel has also served as Queensland’s Public Service Commissioner.


    Glenn Bourke, CEO, Hamilton Island

    Glenn Bourke, CEO, Hamilton Island

    As CEO of Hamilton Island Enterprises, Glenn Bourke’s vision is to create a world-class holiday destination. With a background in international competitive sailing, the former seven times world sailing champion and Olympian is also an international event manager, published author, sports commentator and successful businessman.

    Previously Glenn was on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Organising Committee, CEO of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, and on the board of Volvo Penta’s marine and industrial engines division. Currently Glenn oversees the Island’s 1200 staff, four hotels, 13 restaurants, a domestic airport, marina, real estate office and an 18-hole championship golf course.

  • 3. Creating Digital Experiences

    Digital marketing and digital technologies provide tourism destinations and businesses with a great opportunity to build awareness of their offering and convert engagement to visitation. Delegates will hear insights and case studies into how consumers are engaging with digital platforms and the emerging trends.

    Liz Ward, Managing Director, Digital Coaching International

    Liz Ward, Managing Director, Digital Coaching International

    Owner of Digital Coaching International and the Tourism Tribe online learning hub, Liz has a passion for the tourism industry and the growth that comes from adoption of innovative technologies and digital capacity building.

    Previously, Liz led the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse business, and held senior management positions in Tourism and Events Queensland, including Director of e-Marketing. She holds an Advanced Diploma in Business from University of Southern Queensland and is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Institute of Management.


    Kaylah Buckman, Digital Content Specialist, Tourism and Event Queensland

    Kaylah Buckman, Digital Content Specialist, Tourism and Event Queensland

    As a Digital Content Specialist with Tourism and Event Queensland’s Experience Engagement and Digital Channels team, Kaylah Buckman creates and advises on digital content for Queensland.com, the Queensland Blog and YouTube channel.

    Kaylah has been working within the digital content landscape for 9 years, previously working at Regional Tourism Organisations for the Whitsundays (Tourism Whitsundays) and Brisbane (Brisbane Marketing). Since then she has gained extensive knowledge on all things digital and social, such as best-practice digital content, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, how to run an Instameet, social listening, surprise and delighting, and search engine optimisation.


    Jessica Quinlan, Senior Sales Executive, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, TripAdvisor

    Jessica Quinlan, Senior Sales Executive, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific TripAdvisor

    At the world’s largest travel site, Jessica works directly with destinations in the South Pacific region to assist with marketing and promote the vast array of destinations to TripAdvisor’s audience of over 340 million unique monthly visitors.

    Jessica previously was the Events and Industry Development Coordinator, Australian Tourism Export Council, and the Events Coordinator, World Youth Student Educational Travel Confederation, where she assisted with a global portfolio of events in countries such as USA, Australia, UK, Ireland, Italy and Hungary.


    Jan Claxton, Owner, Ocean Rafting Safari

    Jan Claxton, Owner, Ocean Rafting Safari

    Jan Claxton has been involved in the tourism industry for over 14 years as owner of tour operators Ocean Rafting Whitsundays and Ocean Safari Cape Tribulation. With her husband, Peter, they have grown both operations into multi-award winning tours.

    Jan is involved in all aspects of the business, from operations through to administration, finance and sales and marketing. With a strong, ever-evolving focus on social media, Jan works closely with her team to educate, motivate and inspire people to explore the wonders of these iconic Queensland destinations.

  • 4. Event Value Optimisation

    Be informed and inspired to grow your business through the effective leveraging of events which will also optimise the value of events to the destination as a result. Delegates will hear case studies illustrating strong tourism/events partnerships and leveraging and a panel discussion on practical experience advice from respective roles in industry - hotels, tourism experiences, industry association, events management and the Commonwealth Games.

    Karen Hanna Miller, Executive Producer, Oculus Productions

    Karen Hanna Miller, Executive Producer, Oculus Productions

    Karen Hanna Miller’s 22 year broadcast media career has seen her become a leader in television and commercial production, working on well-known programs such as the Great South East, Queensland Weekender, Creek to Coast and establishing one of the most successful video content providers in Queensland, TPD Media.

    Currently Karen is an Executive Producer of Oculus Productions, providing affordable high-quality content and internal communications production for companies, high-quality corporate video solutions, short-shelf-life video, event videos and online marketing content.


    Jan McCormick, CEO, Broadbeach Alliance

    Jan McCormack, CEO, Broadbeach Alliance

    Jan started as CEO of Broadbeach Alliance in 2007. Since then Jan has been at the forefront of guiding the business in a new direction, and one that is demonstrating real economic returns for not only Broadbeach but the City of Gold Coast and the state.

    Prior to Broadbeach Alliance, Jan ran together with her husband one of Australia’s largest conference, exhibition, events and concert organisations with clients from around the world.


    David Hopper, Tourism, Major Events and Reporting Manager, Sunshine Coast Council

    David Hopper, Tourism, Major Events and Reporting Manager, Sunshine Coast Council

    In this role, David is responsible for overseeing key strategies which drive sustainable tourism and major events in the region. This year he has driven the local activation of the World is Coming campaign – a major marking initiative, which promotes the 60+ major events that will be hosted on the Sunshine Coast.

    David is involved in sponsorship negotiations and relationship management of the region’s major events portfolio, including the Australian National Surf Life Saving Titles, Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Australasian Police Games, Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival, Australian Motorcross Championships, and the Queensland Garden Expo.


    Shona Humphris, Associate Director of Sales, Sofitel Brisbane Central

    Shona Humphris, Associate Director of Sales, Sofitel Brisbane Central

    Shona represents Brisbane’s leading luxury hotel, welcoming clients and delegates into the city’s largest integrated meeting and events facility. Shona leads a strong team to secure national and international conventions for the hotel as well as leverage opportunities from the city’s sporting and entertainment events.

    She previously worked as senior hotel liaison during the G20 World Leaders Summit in 2014, as MICE Sales Manager at Radisson and Hilton hotels, and at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, attracting a variety of key events.


    Paul Victory, General Manager, SeaLink Qld/NT

    Paul Victory, General Manager, SeaLink Qld/NT

    Paul Victory, General Manager of SeaLink Queensland and Northern Territory, manages one of the largest transport operators in Northern Australia. Paul has had a long career at SeaLink, gaining extensive experience in the tourism and leisure services marketing and development within the Australian tourism industry.

    Paul is also Director of Townsville Enterprise Ltd and Chair of the Regional Tourism Committee—in which he has been instrumental in the development of Indigenous tourism opportunities for the community of Palm Island in North Queensland and in the remote Tiwi Island’s in the Northern Territory.


    Julie McDonald OAM, Embracing 2018 Advisory Committee Member, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

    Julie McDonald, Embracing 2018 Advisory Committee Member

    Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Julie McDonald holds many titles, including President of the Queensland Olympian Club, and Board member of Melanoma Patients Australia and the Queensland Olympic Council.

    Julie represented Australia at two Olympics and Commonwealth Games, winning an Olympic bronze medal in 1988, a silver Commonwealth Games medal in 1986 and another silver and two gold Commonwealth Games Medal’s in 1900. Julie was also awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), in 2006, for services to sport, the community, the Australian Olympic Drug Education Program and fundraising for charities.

  • 5. Tourism Infrastructure and Investment

    Queensland is experiencing an investment boom, with a range of new infrastructure projects underway. Delegates will hear about the $3.8 billion Brisbane Airport expansion and the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane mega-project, as well as the innovative Morris Group’s Northern Escape experience - covering the reef, rainforest and outback. Find out what new investment means for the Queensland tourism industry and yourbusiness.

    Michael Campbell, National Business Development Manager and Senior Consultant, AEC Group Ltd

    Michael Campbell

    Michael has over 15 years of experience working with the private and public sector across economics, property, economic development and tourism. His experience spans three continents and includes significant time working with corporate management teams in regards to capital investments and site selection, as well as working with governments at all levels to generate new jobs and investment through economic development and tourism.
    He has also provided advice and analysis regarding regional and remote tourism developments, including numerous caravan park developments, eco-retreats and Indigenous tourism ventures.


    Julieanne Alroe, CEO & Managing Director, Brisbane Airport Corporation

    Julieanne Alroe

    Julieanne Alroe is CEO and Managing Director at Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited and a board member of Tourism and Events Queensland and Infrastructure Australia. She is also President of the Queensland Futures Institute. She has held executive management positions with Sydney Airport Corporation and is a former chair of Airports Coordination Australia Ltd and Airports Council International Safety and Technical Standing Committee.


    Geoff Hogg, Managing Director, Queensland, The Star Entertainment Group

    Geoff Hogg

    Geoff Hogg has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in casinos including Treasury Casino & Hotel in Brisbane, Jupiters Gold Coast and the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development.


    Hayley Morris, Executive Director, Morris Group & Colonial Leisure Group

    Hayley Morris

    Hayley Morris is the Executive Director of the Morris Group and the Colonial Leisure Group whose investments span hospitality, tourism, technology, food and agriculture. Hayley also has an integral role in the Morris Family Foundation. She is a Director at Melbourne-based Impact Sustainability, which she founded in 2011, to provide simple and affordable technology solutions for businesses to manage their impact on the environment and the community. Hayley is also a co-founder and current Director of not-for-profit Sustainable Trade.

Networking reception

A DestinationQ networking reception was held at the conclusion of the forum.

The networking reception was hosted by the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games and the Mackay Regional Council.

Previous DestinationQ Forums

Information about previous DestinationQ Forums can be found at: