Andrew McEvoy

Andrew McEvoy

Chairman | Tourism & Transport Forum

In his more than 20 years in the tourism industry, Mr McEvoy rose to be the Managing Director of Tourism Australia - Australia's peak tourism body. During his tenure, he established the Tourism 2020 Strategy (aimed at doubling overnight expenditure), helped the industry capitalise on growth from Asia and took a more commercial approach to relationships with airlines to ensure inbound air capacity growth. More recently, Mr McEvoy was Managing Director of the Fairfax Life Media and Events business, including the profitable lifestyle publishing business (travel, cars, food, health, prestige and parenting) and Australia's largest consumer event business (Fairfax Events). Fairfax is Australia's oldest media company and underwent significant digital transformation as well as building new revenue streams. Mr McEvoy is the Chairman of listed transport and tourism company the Sealink Travel Group (SLK) and a Director of Ingenia Communities (INA) and the Lux Group, operators of Luxury Escapes.
Margy Osmond

Margy Osmond

CEO | Tourism & Transport Forum

Margy Osmond is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism & Transport Forum, assuming the role on 1 October 2014. Margy has extensive experience in policy development and advocacy, politics, membership organisations, management, media and public relations. Before joining TTF, Margy was the inaugural CEO of ANRA which was established in 2006 as a lobby and research organisation to be the voice of the large national retailers in Australia. Prior to this, Margy was the CEO of the State and Sydney Chambers of Commerce in NSW for five years. Margy has a wide range of Board experience having been Chair of the NSW TAFE Commission Board and Chair of the Australian Sports Foundation, Deputy Chair of Tourism NSW, and served on the boards of the Australian Sports Commission, Bell Shakespeare, the Retail Employees Superannuation Trust, NSW Major Events, the NSW Police Minister’s Advisory Board and NSW State Transit Authority. Margy also chaired the bid and official Organising Committee for the largest non-elite sporting event in the world, the International World Masters Games, held in Sydney in 2009
Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander

Founder & CEO | Hobbiton Movie Set

Russell was born in 1968 in the Taranaki region and moved to Buckland Road in Matamata with his family in 1978. Russell attended Matamata College where he was Head Boy in 1985 and then went on to study a Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) at The University of Waikato. In 1994 Russell set up his own accountancy practice in Matamata town centre, which he has now recently sold.   As part of this practice set up he converted land from sheep & beef properties to dairy for syndicates which he is still involved with as both a shareholder and director. Russell is a keen sportsman. He played representative Cricket & Rugby, was part of the NZ youth team and played over 100 games at what is now Waikato Stadium. Russell took out the Junior Grade at the NZ Shearing Championships in 1986 and sheared sheep to get through University. Russell is the Founder and CEO of Hobbiton Movie Set, NZ’s world-famous tourism attraction since 2002. The extraordinary development of Hobbiton Movie Set, on the back of the movies, has led to Hobbiton becoming a must do experience in NZ.
Matt Cameron-Smith

Matt Cameron-Smith

MD | AAT Kings & Inspiring Journeys

With 28 years of experience within the tourism industry, Matthew Cameron-Smith was appointed Managing Director for Trafalgar and Costsaver Australia in February 2011. Over the past seven years, Matthew has been instrumental in the implementation of both brands strategic vision, values and corporate objectives, while providing leadership and direction to the Trafalgar and Costsaver Australia team. Matthew has played an integral part in Trafalgar’s transformation and brand evolution as the global guided holiday leader. Matthew has previously held positions with Tourism Australia as General Manager - Trade Marketing and Director of Distribution and Partnership Development for UK/Europe. Prior to that, Matthew spent three years with Rydges Hotel and Resorts as the Director of Business Development UK/Europe and Middle East. Last month, Matthew was appointed to the global role of Managing Director of AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys, commencing 1st April 2019. He will be heading up a team of over 400 across the acclaimed portfolio of Australia and New Zealand Guided Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Tours as well as its Small Group Journeys collection, Inspiring Journeys.  
Trent Chapman

Trent Chapman

Head of Production & Development | Nine

Trent is the Head of Production & Development at Nine.
Sandra Chipchase

Sandra Chipchase

CEO | Destination NSW

Sandra Chipchase is the Chief Executive Officer of Destination NSW and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney. Ms Chipchase has had an outstanding career in international and domestic tourism and business events marketing, major events acquisition and management, sponsorship, commercial leasing and asset management. Ms Chipchase was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau, Executive Director – Australia Pavilion - World EXPO 2000, Executive Director Commercial – Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, GM Marketing – Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau and she held senior management roles with the Australian Tourist Commission/Tourism Australia in Frankfurt, Chicago and New York. Sandra has held roles as Chair and President of several international and national industry associations. Her current roles include: Board Member - Business Events Sydney, member of the Steering Committee Member for the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre Precinct and member of the NSW Australia Day Committee. Sandra was co-author of the National Business Events Strategy and co-author of the NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce Report 2012 - the tourism and major events blueprint for NSW - that has delivered record results for NSW. Sandra has been awarded by Sony Music Australia for creativity and innovation and received national recognition winning the National Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Meetings and Events Industry.
Chris Cocker

Chris Cocker

CEO | South Pacific Tourism Organisation

Mr. Christopher Cocker hails from the Kingdom of Tonga and is the CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation . He has over 20 years’ experience and expertise in Pacific trade, investment and tourism. Before joining SPTO in June 2016, he was a short term consultant with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) based in Suva, Fiji, the Project Manager for the EU-funded Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP) administered by the SPTO (2013-2015) and prior to SPTO, he was the Marketing Officer for the EU-funded Increasing Commodity Agriculture Trade (IACT) project administered by SPC. His previous work posts based in Auckland, New Zealand, include Trade Commissioner of Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) and Senior Programme Manager, Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF). Earlier in his career (1995-2001) he was the Marketing & Memberships Services Manager at SPTO promoting regional tourism in global markets. Chris is passionate about Sustainable Pacific Tourism and enjoys reading, travelling, music and especially international food. He is privileged and honoured to represent the Pacific Islands.
Jim Costello

Jim Costello

Project Manager | The Big Pineapple Renewal

Jim is an experienced development, planning and construction professional with qualifications in property economics and building. Jim has been the Project Director of the Big Pineapple since 2016, seeking to renew the famous brownfield tourism attraction. Jim’s experience includes managing a construction and development company and property economics consultancy, and has previously worked on projects for Lendlease and Springfield Land Corporation. Jim is currently facilitating the renewal of the Big Pineapple through master planning approval and new businesses and attractions.
Simon Currant AM

Simon Currant AM

MD | Simon Current & Associates; Tourism developer, operator and consultant

With over 38 years’ experience as a tourism visionary, developer, operator and consultant specialising in remote area and marine tourism, Simon’s focus on the tourism experience, particularly the wilderness and excellence in food and beverage, is now synonymous with the Tasmanian brand. He is the visionary and developer behind some of Tasmania and Australia’s most celebrated tourism experiences, including the development of Australia’s wine tourism industry in the Hunter Valley, Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Lodge, Strahan Village, Franklin Manor, Peppermint Bay and Hobart Cruises, and the unique World Heritage Area site of Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair in Tasmania’s central highlands. Simon consults both nationally and internationally, providing expert advice on operations, new destination evaluation, market evaluation, and infrastructure and experience development.
Joel Edmondson

Joel Edmondson

Executive Director | Queensland Music Festival

Joel Edmondson is a leading Australian arts administrator and event producer, best known for his 4-year stewardship of BIGSOUND, Australia’s premier music industry conference and festival of new music. Joel joined Queensland Music Festival as Executive Director in January 2019, having most recently lead QMusic, Queensland’s music industry development association, through the most significant growth period in the organisation’s 24 year history. His career has spanned a diverse range of music industry roles, as well as over a decade leading transformation initiatives in the government and non-profit sectors. Joel is a distinction alumnus of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD), and has tertiary qualifications in management, digital media production, music in the community, and cultural studies. He specialises in leading the evolution of cultural and community institutions by developing innovative partnerships and services, creating transformational experiences, and revitalising organisational culture and creativity.
Fren Family

Fren Family

Travel Guides | Nine

The Fren Family - MARK (57), CATHY (55), JONATHON (27) & VICTORIA (25) The Frens run the German restaurant Oma’s Kitchen in Newcastle, NSW and are accustomed to the occasional workplace meltdown. As a result, they are well equipped to cope with stressful family situations and can always find the funny side of any holiday disaster. Mark is the upbeat and forthright dad. When on holiday he loves to negotiate hotel room upgrades. For more than 30 years he has been happily married to Cathy, whose quirky sense of humour and distinctive laugh is contagious. She jokes that marrying Mark was probably the "tenth best thing to happen in my life”. Daughter Victoria is always ready to voice an opinion but admits she tends to speak before she thinks. Son Jonathon is the more reserved one of the bunch and often finds himself unwittingly involved in the family’s candid antics. Jonathon is still single, despite Mark and Cathy’s best efforts to set him up on dates on every holiday. The Frens love visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. They are unafraid to give anything a go, which often leads them into unpredictable situations. When travelling, they have champagne taste on a beer budget and often struggle without creature comforts. They loathe lining up, hot weather, activities that require too much physical exertion, and anywhere that doesn’t have a decent buffet.
Courtney Gibson

Courtney Gibson

Chief Executive | South Australian Film Corporation

Courtney Gibson is the Chief Executive of the South Australian Film Corporation and Adelaide Studios, which are currently playing host to productions including the Mortal Kombat movie and the Cate Blanchett produced series Stateless starring Cate Blanchett, Dominic West and Yvonne Strahovski. South Australia has long been a centre for screen production going back to the early 1970s - movies like Sunday Too Far Away, Breaker Morant and the original Storm Boy, along with the recent Storm Boy reboot; also seminal long running series such as McLeods Daughters, and more recently films like Cargo, Hotel Mumbai, Top End Wedding, the upcoming Netflix feature I Am Mother launching on Netflix June 7 and drama series The Hunting starring Richard Roxburgh and Asher Keddie launching on SBS soon.
David Hammon

David Hammon

CEO and Director | Hammons Holdings

David is currently CEO and a Director of Hammons Holdings, the company which owns Australia’s most visited privately owned tourism attraction, Scenic World. Under David’s leadership, Hammons Holdings was recently appointed to operate tourism activities on the Sydney Harbour Bridge following a rigorous tender process driven by the NSW State Government. The appointment marks one of the greatest milestones in Hammons Holdings’ 73 year history and will see the company forge ahead with its vision to improve accessibility and bring the Bridge to life with new technology. As Scenic World’s former Joint Managing Director, David has a strong business acumen, having worked alongside his sister Anthea Hammon to lead the business through a sustained period of growth and innovation, including a $30 million redevelopment of the iconic Scenic Railway. With a solid background in commerce and economics, David currently leads the diversification strategy of Hammons Holdings. The company is an investor in the URBNSURF Sydney project and David sits on the Board of Sydney Zoo as part of Hammons Holdings’ cornerstone investment in the project. David will play a leading role in the continued evolution of the Sydney Harbour Bridge tourism experience when Hammons Holdings assumes the 20-year contract on 1 October 2018.
Ryan Hanly

Ryan Hanly

CEO and Founder | Travello

Ryan Hanly is the CEO & Co-Founder of Travello, a social network for travellers being used in over 180 countries. Travello connects travellers in-destination and allows them to share their experience with a global audience of other travellers. Travello has also developed a suite of technology solutions under the brand BlueTee, that allows travel companies to connect with their customers in-destination via automated geo-fenced messaging. Travello recently closed a 5M investment round to scale up their partnerships with travel companies and DMOs and also become the largest community of travellers on the globe.
Rodney Harrex

Rodney Harrex

CEO | South Australian Tourism Commission

Rodney Harrex is the Chief Executive of the SATC. He has been in this role since April 2013 and is tasked with the objective of leading a dynamic, innovative and creative team at the SATC that makes South Australia a growing destination choice for international, domestic and South Australian travellers. Rodney has been instrumental in increasing the recognition of the value of tourism to South Australia and its contribution to employment. He recently led the introduction of new direct international flights from China Southern Airlines and Qatar Airways. He also spearheaded the development of the South Australian Tourism Plan 2020. Under his leadership, South Australia has won the right to host many world class events, conferences and exhibitions while South Australia’s visitor economy has grown to over $6 billion. Rodney joined the SATC after a 25 year career with Tourism Australia, where he rose to the position of General Manager, UK and Northern Europe after working in various international markets and Sydney.
Phillipa Harrison

Phillipa Harrison

Executive GM International | Tourism Australia

Phillipa Harrison joined Tourism Australia in February 2017 to head up the organisation’s international operations for Asia, the Americas, Europe and New Zealand as well as Global Distribution and Partnerships. In this role Phillipa oversees Tourism Australia’s network of international offices spanning 12 countries as well as managing airline relationships and distribution channels, working in partnership with the industry to grow the inbound market for Australian tourism. Prior to her current role, Ms Harrison spent six years working for Hamilton Island Enterprises and before that held a variety of senior sales, marketing and product roles at Viator Systems (Sydney), Base Group (Sydney), STA Travel (London), Contiki Holidays (London), and Trailfinders (London).
Shirley Hollingsworth

Shirley Hollingsworth

GM | Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

General Manager Shirley Hollingsworth is the first Traditional Owner to manage the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Joining as a retail assistant in 1997, she continuously upskilled to work her way through the business. Shirley is passionate about Tjapukai’s role in preserving the language, culture and connection to country of Djabugay people while providing them with economic opportunities. Her belief that Tjapukai gives her and her staff the opportunity to be proud of who they are, combined with her respect for the elders who helped to create the business, motivates Shirley to ensure Tjapukai grows in strength for future generations.
Jimmy Hurlston

Jimmy Hurlston

CEO | Easey's Group

Since 2012 Jimmy Hurlston has built a reputation in the comfort food industry in Australia. Previously, Jimmy was pursuing a career in law but hit a fork in the road and instead of choosing, he decided to do a "U-ey". Jimmy's reputation has been built through social media channels, he penned a book titled The Burger Book – Victoria in 2013 and traveled the world eating and reviewing burgers. Jimmy is considered at the forefront of burger knowledge in Australia and continues to travel the world in search of the perfect burger - The Unicorn. Jimmy and Jeremy had crossed paths many times through the graffiti world and had been planning on opening a venue for some time and decided to team up with Phil Martin Easey's is a collaboration between 3 mates and their individuality - Jimmy Hurlston, Phil Martin and Jeremy Gaschk. The lads started working on Easey's in February 2014 and finally opened the doors to the public on 1 May 2015. Since opening, Easey’s has gained more attention than any other comfort food venue appearing on all major television networks as well as in most online and print publications from Broadsheet to the Qantas Mag. Easey's always strives to evolve its artwork but most importantly its food and drink offering to cater to the comfort food whims of its patrons.
Suzanne Jones

Suzanne Jones

Executive Producer | Gordon Frost Organisation

Melbourne born Suzanne set off in the direction of a career in main stage musical productions via degrees in both economics and music. She got her start in the entertainment industry in 1998 as a Sound Engineer at the Melbourne Arts Centre. She very quickly went on to become head of sound for System Sound touring large scale music theatre productions around Australia and Asia. In 2006 she left the industry for several years expanding her skills in other areas however her love of live entertainment saw her join the team at The Gordon Frost Organisation in 2013 being involved in producing the Australian tours of the London Palladium production of The Sound of Music, the Queen musical, We Will Rock You, the 8 time Tony Award winning production of Once and the world premier Sydney season of Dream Lover – The Bobby Darin Story. She currently holds the position of Executive Producer at The Gordon Frost Organisation and is the Executive Producer/General Manager on the Australian tours of Chicago The Musical  and Waitress  In 2016 Suzanne established her own production company, Jones Theatrical Group (JTG). JTG works internationally both producing and investing in live Entertainment in the US and the UK. She has been a co-producer on a number of productions including An Act of God at The Booth Theatre on Broadway starring Sean Hayes,  Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill with the Tony Award winning actress Audra MacDonald at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End and most recently  Long Days Journey into Night  with Jeremy Irons and Leslie Manville also at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End.  It is also under this banner that Suzanne produced the Australian tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Wizard of Oz with John Frost in 2017/2018. Her current productions are the Australian tours of Chicago The Musical  in 2019 and Waitress in 2020 both with John Frost.
Tom McCormack

Tom McCormack

Chief Information Officer | Western Sydney Airport

Tom McCormack is the Chief Information Officer at Western Sydney Airport. In this role, Tom is responsible for the design and implementation of all technology and cyber security aspects of Australia’s first smart airport, which is due to open in 2026. Over his career, Tom has been involved in the creation, implementation and operations of complex technology systems across a range of sectors, including financial services, transportation, public sector, and media amongst others.  With a great deal of experience across both the FMCG and aviation industries, Tom has held a number of transformational technology leadership roles within a range of global brands.  He is widely regarded for providing thought leadership in technology outsourcing.
Nigel Oakey

Nigel Oakey

MD | Be Our Guest Holdings (Premier Mill Hotel, Katanning WA)

Nigel Oakey is the Managing Director of Western Australian based Be Our Guest Holdings. Born and educated in south-east Asia, Nigel Oakey graduated from University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts. Prior to his 20 year career in leaisure-retail he worked for the Hong Kong Government, was a soldier in the Australian Army and a diplomat with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Whilst he’s still not sure what he wants to be when he grows up he’s devoted himself in the last decade to building a network of 60 community cafes throughout Western Australia. Social impact through community heritage with hospitality has been a hallmark of his work having now completed adaptive re-use projects in some 20 listed heritage places. The restoring in 2018 of Katanning’s Premier Roller Flour Mill buildings and their adaptation into a boutique hotel, cafe, wine bar and event space has created a new beacon for regional tourism in Western Australia.
John O’Sullivan

John O’Sullivan

MD | Tourism Australia

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 Middle East.

Lisa Perkovic

Lisa Perkovic

Senior Manager Global Editor | Expedia Group

Lisa is the Expedia Group Global Travel Expert, collaborating with a team around the world to help keep travellers well-informed of the best tips, tricks and destinations for their next trip. She has spent many years travelling the world and appears regularly on television and radio as Expedia’s Travel Expert.
Leigh-Ann Pow

Leigh-Ann Pow

Editorial Director | Australia Traveller Media

Bio coming soon
Stuart Smythe

Stuart Smythe

CEO | Falls Creek Alpine Resorts

Stuart has been the CEO of Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board since May 2015. A skiing and mountain adventure tragic who masqueraded as an investment banker for 20 years, he has globally diverse and cross-cultural leadership experience gained through senior management roles in Australia, North America, India, Japan and Asia. Stuart swapped his briefcase for a backpack, his suits for Gore-Tex, moved his family to the mountains and now gets to make each day a different adventure. As CEO of Falls Creek, his role focuses on managing the resort in collaboration with key stakeholders, together with promoting investment and development, as well as marketing to and broadening the resorts user base through diversifying its unique and authentic visitor experiences. Stuart is currently a director of Tourism North East, former Chair of the Australia New Zealand Business Assoc of India, former Chair Macquarie Foundation – Japan. He holds tertiary qualification in economics, post graduate qualifications in finance, investment and business management, and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School.
James Thornton

James Thornton

CEO | Intrepid Group

James Thornton is the Chief Executive Officer of the Intrepid Group, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences. 37-year-old Thornton began his career in the U.K. in the lucrative field of investment management before making a career change to joining Intrepid Travel’s UK office as Sales & Marketing Coordinator in 2005. He has quickly risen through the business tackling a number of roles and regions before becoming first non-founding Managing Director of Intrepid in 2013, at just 31 years old. In 2015 James led Intrepid Group through a shareholder split from TUI Travel plc, that saw the company return to the independent ownership of Intrepid Travel’s original founders. In the three years since, James has led Intrepid Group to deliver on a vision of growth the market for sustainable experience-rich travel with three consecutive years of record growth and profitability. In 2017 James was appointed CEO of Intrepid Group and in 2018 he was named as Hospitality and Tourism Executive of the Year in the CEO Magazine Awards.
Cathy Treasure

Cathy Treasure

Festival Director | The Parkes Elvis Festival

Life has never been boring for Cathy and June 2016 saw her shake, rattle and roll from Brisbane to the regional town of Parkes to steer one of Australia's most unique events into the future. Bringing 20 years of event experience to Parkes, working on more than 50 events across three continents, Cathy's role is to ensure the sustainability of a highly valued event; Parkes Elvis Festival. Highlights of Cathy's career include working on the Sydney 2000 Olympics, ICC Cricket World Cups in Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean, the 2003 IRB Rugby World Cup and the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. Cathy also has a strong regional events background having worked as Marketing and Events Manager for the Entrance Town Centre Management for four years which saw attendance figures for the Central Coast Country Music Festival increase from 8,000 to more than 35,000. Cathy has now led the Festival over three successful years and helped it achieve "Hall of Fame" status at the NSW Tourism Awards.