Speakers & Presenters
Tourism Movers & Shakers
Speakers from across Australia will converge on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to impart their knowledge at the 2019 Art of Attraction
Summit. They are leading tourism researchers, CEOs, consultants, and festival organisers, plus passionate individuals whose energy and
determination have transformed their destinations. This page will be updated as additional speakers and information is confirmed.
CEO of the largest RV Club in the southern hemisphere, the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA), Richard was previously the Manager of Economic Development & Tourism with Forbes Council, a position he held for 13 years. He also has extensive experience in the media sector and was Chair of the Newell Highway Promotions Committee for a decade. Richard has been able to engage the RV community to provide triple-level benefits to regional and rural areas across Australia. As CMCA CEO, he is actively promoting RV tourism to communities that wish to attract the Club’s 70,000+ members. Richard will explain why you should not let the RV market pass you by and the two-edged sword of no-cost and low cost campsites.
Seniors Tour Host
Neil is a tour host with Fun Over Fifty, a company that specialises in tours for the over 50s segment and a seven-time Australian Tourism Awards winner. Neil and the company understand the pivotal importance of allowing guests to relive memories plays in gaining their attention and admiration, and so culture and heritage as key tour components. Neil embraces the mantra that laughter is good for the soul, and fun is infectious and keeps you young at heart.
Leanne arrived in Thallon in 1987 as a beginning teacher, and in the same year met her husband Stuart. They lived in the district until 2001. In that time, they witnessed Thallon’s decline due to drought and withdrawal of services. As a result, Leanne became a passionate advocate for the tiny town. Despite no longer living there she continued to lobby to improve the town’s services and infrastructure. In 2015 that took the form of becoming the initiator and then co-ordinator of a project to paint a mural on the Thallon Silos. Two years later, in July 2017, “The Watering Hole” became a reality.
Founder, Food Focus Australia
Michelle is the founder of Food Focus Australia, Malt Shovel Taphouse and NightQuarter, and a passionate advocate for arts, culture and incubating new talent. She started her career at 19 opening a showroom in the Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles called Uniquely Australian, promoting Australian arts and designs - working with the likes of the Getty Museum and Smithsonian Institute. Michelle is relocating the immensely popular NightQuarter, billed as a food festival every weekend that has incorporated national and international street artists, to the Sunshine Coast. To date, NightQuarter has featured murals from Dion Parker, J-Beez and The Zookeeper, plus art installations from Tracie Eaton and more.
McKinlay Shire Council
Janene holds the Tourism and Health portfolios within McKinlay Shire Council, in north west Queensland. Born in Cairns, she was raised in Hawaii and has lived throughout Queensland. Janene moved
to Julia Creek in 1992 to take up a Registered Nurses position. Her insights are invaluable to the Julia Creek Dirt and Dust Festival, she sits on The Health Advisory Committee and the CAN (Community Advisory Network) Committee, and is passionate about the role that tourism plays within the Shire.
Dr David Gration
Founder, Events Tourism Associates
David is the Director of Events Tourism Associates, a company established to provide research, workshops and events tourism related design and planning services. One of Australia’s leading events tourism experts, he brings together academic qualifications, research and 30+ years of event management and marketing in venues, festivals, special and business events, and tourism. He has worked in both metropolitan and regional destinations from Hobart to Townsville, helping communities achieve success through sustainable event design. In 2011 David became only the 2nd person to be made a Life Member of the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA), now known as PAC.
CEO, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC)
Simon is responsible for the strategic, financial and operational management of VSC and plays a key strategic role driving organisational strategies to support the development of a strong regional brand. He is driven to achieve increase in visitation and visitor spend for Sunshine Coast tourism operators. Simon is on the Board of QTIC, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux, and the Sunshine Coast Major Events Board. He is also Chair of Queensland Regional Tourism Organisation Committee.
Mayor, McKinlay Shire Council
Born in Tasmania, Belinda trained as a commercial pilot and grade 3 flying instructor in Hobart before moving to Queensland in 1998 and spending the following years working as a pilot on various stations in the North West Queensland and Northern Territory. She met her now husband Wayne Murphy and moved into Julia Creek in 2004 as the Branch Manager for the Queensland Country Credit Union and then became a Senior Manager for McKinlay Shire Council from 2005 until 2010. She is currently a Board Member of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), Chair of the Outback Queensland Tourism Association (OQTA) and District Representative of the Policy Executive (LGAQ). Belinda has been on many community organisations since moving to Julia Creek, and has also gained a graduate degree in Public Sector Management.
As the Parkes Elvis Festival Director for Parkes Shire Council, Cathy is extending her “life has never been boring” adventure. In June 2016 decided to shake, rattle and roll from Brisbane to the regional town of Parkes to steer one of Australia's most unique events into the future. Cathy has now led the Elvis Festival to achieve "Hall of Fame" status at the NSW Tourism Awards. Having workied on more than 50 events across three continents, her other career highlights 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 raised attendance to the Central Coast Country Music Festival from 8,000 to 35,000+.
Art consultant for ACCOR's The Art Series Hotel
Ken’s lifelong passion for art has led to him successfully embracing the art world in his own individual and unique way - as an artist manager, consultant, curator, collector of contemporary world art, a specialist in Aboriginal art and a facilitator of art related projects. He is a Fellow of the Art Gallery of Western Australia and a perpetual benefactor of the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. He has authored 35 major publications, organised exhibitions in Australia, Asia, USA and the UK, and is credited for bringing to Australia three of the greatest international street artists, Blek Le Rat from France, D*face from England and Swoon from America. Ken has worked and lived in Africa, Europe and Russia, and now lives in Melbourne, where he became a key connexion in the development of the Art Series Hotels. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Bond University in 2016.
FORM Program Manager
Rhianna has successfully delivered a number of large-scale cultural tourism projects both in regional Western Australia and metropolitan Perth. Multi-year projects such as the PUBLIC program, a three-year celebration of street art, urban activation and thought leadership, and more recently, the PUBLIC Silo Trail are significant, state-wide projects delivered under her guidance. Through the PUBLIC program, Rhianna has worked with more than 100 international, Australian and local artists to deliver 200+ public artworks, including eight large-scale mural installations on regional silo infrastructure that have been developed into a regional arts trail spanning the Western Australian Wheatbelt.
Managing Director, Evergreen Advertising & Marketing
Gill is the Founder of Evergreen Advertising and Marketing Communications, the first agency in Australia dedicated to building campaigns that motivate and resonate with boomers and seniors. In 2003 Gill completed a Master’s thesis on Ageism in Australian Advertising at RMIT University. Before founding Evergreen in that same year she had been Managing Director for Sudler & Hennessey Australia (healthcare marketing leader), and also worked internationally with McCann Erickson. She is a renowned and regular media commentator on issues relating to advertising and marketing
to boomers and seniors and is a sought-after keynote speaker. She will share practical insights from her work on many lifestyle brand portfolios relevant to travel and tourism.
Public Art Curator
Julie has more than 20 years’ experience of working with community and individuals across the education, private and public sectors within the arts. She works from the basis that Public Art has the unique strength to draw crowds and provide a meaningful, memorable and sometimes transformative experience for locals and visitors alike, one that is unique to each destination. With a deep understanding of the way humans interact and respond to creative expression in public places, Julie’s curatorial approach to Public Art development on the Sunshine Coast is driven by its capacity to contribute to and to reflect the regions identity.
Business Development Facilitator –Downtown Caloundra, Sunshine Coast Council
Terese has worked with small businesses for more than 15 years, in her own business and within the private and government sectors. Charged with increasing the level of revitalisation activity in Downtown Caloundra, she coordinates and facilitates delivery and
leadership of key programs to enhance the main street’s point of difference and appeal as a shopping, business, investment and events destination.
Co-founder, Apparition Media
Melbourne-based co-founder of Apparition Media, Tristan Minter, has worked for the past six years to blend Australia’s thriving street art culture with marketing and advertising. Apparition Media achieved an Australian first - using hand-painted murals in high traffic areas to sell big brands. Tristan has also managed some of the country’s biggest mural projects, such as the water tower in Narrandera, and co-directed this year’s Darwin Street Art Festival. Apparition Media is a long way from his first business – a firm that provided services to consulting archaeologists, which fitted with his Politics and Anthropology university studies. Tristan says that while Apparition Media’s job is to paint walls, what they achieve is to change the way people look at those walls.
Marketing Manager, Mary Valley Rattler
The Mary Valley Rattler allows visitors to travel back to the 19th century, when time was more relaxed. Many visitors who remember the days of steam trains still yearn to relive those moments, and "the Rattler" answers their call. Karen has 25+ years’ experience in the travel and tourism industry. Working in wholesale travel organisations and hospitality businesses in operational, sales and marketing roles provided a breadth of experience in the industry. She then found her passion in marketing. Working with Regional Tourism Organisations, private businesses and not for profits, Karen uses her project management skills to deliver innovative marketing campaigns and develop systems and procedures to execute great events. Her current role with the Mary Valley Rattler has provided a platform to be part of the key team rolling out a new tourism experience in the Gympie Region. Karen is known for thinking outside the box, getting it done and loving her home region.
Jacques Van As
Travel photographer, Jacques Va Photography
Jacques is recognised as one of Australia’s finest landscape photographers and videographers. Born and raised in South Africa, he moved to Australia in 2009. With a passion for nature and adventure since he was young, it was only a matter of time before landscape photography lured him in and he began travelling in search of unique and exciting landscapes. He has spent years travelling to capture amazing and breathtaking images, becoming one of the nation’s foremost photography and travel marketing specialists. Jacques is also an Australian Photographer of the Year judge, using his skills to identify the best of the best.