2016 Conference Profile

Hobart, TAS

21–23 November 2016

Keynote Speakers 2016

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Melina Chan
Co-Founder, Kinyei

Melina Chan is a global citizen, social entrepreneur and community organiser with a passion for facilitating groups and individuals to do great things.

Returning from Cambodia to Melbourne, Australia in 2013, Melina has served as the General Manager of coworking space Inspire9, home to some of Australia’s best and brightest tech startups and is currently transitioning to the role of Community Liaison for the next phase of its growth and development.

Over the past 15 years her work in Melbourne has included cross sector collaboration addressing housing affordability, co-founding an ideas sharing unconference Trampoline Day, co-founding the Social Entrepreneurship Unit of World Vision Australia and the growth of Melbourne’s original coworking community Inspire9.

She currently works across a number of projects looking at developing the startup and social enterprise ecosystems for Melbourne and the ASEAN region working with across government, NGO and private organisations.

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Simon Currant AM
Chairman, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT)

With more than 30 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 Cradle Mountain Lodge, Franklin Manor, Strahan Village, Gordon River Cruises, Peppermint Bay, Hobart Cruises, and his latest venture, a stunning wilderness retreat within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Pumphouse Point.

In 2010, in recognition of his experience and contribution to the tourism industry; particularly his strong advocacy for product and service excellence through industry accreditation, Simon was appointed the inaugural Chairman of the Tourism Quality Council of Australia (TQCA). Simon is a board member of Tourism Tasmania, and was Chairman of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania from 2000 to 2016. A Churchill Fellow, he was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 and was also named Tasmanian of the Year in 2004. In 2006 Simon was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community and the Tasmanian tourism industry. In February 2013 Simon was awarded the Qantas Australian Tourism Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the Australian Tourism Industry.

Simon consults both nationally and internationally, providing expert advice on working with regulatory bodies, operations, new destination evaluation, market evaluation and product concept development.

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Bradley Fauteux
Chief Executive Officer, Parks Victoria

Bradley is the newly appointed Chief Executive of Parks Victoria, which manages over 4 million hectares of parks and waterways across the state. Bradley has a wealth of knowledge and experience in tourism, visitor experience, environmental issues and stakeholder relations.
He was the Managing Director of Ontario Parks at the Ministry of Natural Resources where he was responsible for leading one of the largest parks systems in the world, with over 330 parks representing almost 8% of Ontario’s land mass. Under his management, Ontario Parks was the key contributor to the national initiative ‘Connecting Canadians to Nature’ that seeks to promote the social and economic benefits of engaging with natural spaces.
Bradley has also worked with the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities where, as the Acting Director of the Private Career Colleges Branch and Superintendent of Private Career Colleges, he managed the regulatory oversight of Ontario’s 650 Private Career Colleges. Bradley is presently the Chair of the Canadian Parks Council.
Bradley’s Personal Mission Statement: “I will live a balanced life, serve as a leader and strive to make a difference in the life of every person I can”.

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Brett Godfrey
Tasmanian Walking Company

Brett Godfrey is a leading aviation industry figure who was founding Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Blue. He has a strong financial background and has won a number of awards.  .

Brett Godfrey now focuses on his tourism interests, which includes The Tasmanian Walking Company (“TWC”), which is entrusted to build & operate its own lodges in several National Parks offering multi day guided walking experiences. The business operates Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Bay of Fires Lodge Walk and the new Wineglass Bay Sail Walk. They are currently developing two new lodges in the Three Capes National Park.
TWC recently announced that the launch of the Australian Walking Company and have purchased the Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk, a four day guided tour on Victoria’s southwest coast.

Brett Godfrey and business partner, Rob Sherrard have also invested in other tourism ventures including Quamby Estate, Low Head, Entally Lodge, Pumphouse and Lake House in Tasmania and Makepeace Island in Queensland, a joint venture with Sir Richard Branson.

Brett is member of the Tourism Australia board and publicly listed Auckland International Airport and Canada’s West jet airline.


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Katie Hallaran
Co-Founder, Kinyei

As co-founder of Kinyei International, and sibling social enterprises Soskabike Tours and Kinyei Cafe, Katie is passionate about promoting responsible tourism practices and community stewardship as well as youth workplace readiness. Katie spent over four years in Cambodia facilitating the growth of Kinyei as well as consulting with a variety of non-profit organizations on climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction, and civic engagement. Katie has also consulted for digital inclusion projects including a USAID technology and innovation hub in Phnom Penh, and Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect Mobile initiative.

Katie has a Masters of Law + Diplomacy from the Fletcher School where she focused on international business and human security.


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Jane Hutchinson
CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC)

Jane is CEO of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), a non-for profit, non-government, non-political, environmental organisation with a vision for Tasmania to be a global leader in nature conservation. The TLC started from humble beginnings with only $50 in the bank. Since then it has grown to being one of the largest private landowners in Tasmania and has worked in partnership with landowners, governments, supporters and volunteers to achieve nature conservation across more than 2% of Tasmania’s private land. Since becoming CEO, Jane has managed several multi-million dollar conservation projects, established a long term endowment called “the TLC Foundation” to achieve a perpetual income stream to steward the TLC’s Reserves, monetised a carbon initiative and overseen the implementation of the Midlands Conservation Fund (MCF), a partnership with farmers, Bush Heritage Australia and the State and Commonwealth governments to put nature conservation on farm balance sheets in the Tasmanian Midlands.


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Prof. Geoffrey Lipman
Founder, Green Growth & Travelism Institute

Former Executive Director IATA: President WTTC: Assistant Secretary General UNWTO. Currently Director of Greenearth.travel & Founder SUN

• He has played a leading role in the emergence of Travel & Tourism as a serious socioeconomic sector. o As Executive Director at IATA in the 1970's helped drive a new liberalization agenda, responding to airline deregulation.

o As first President of WTTC throughout the 1990's, he worked to pioneer new systems of measuring the sector, creating CSR Certification and supporting China’s efforts to open Tourism markets.

o As Assistant Secretary General of UNWTO, in the first decade of this millennium, he spearheaded new development support systems, created the ST-EP Program, led the Davos Climate Summit and launched G20 Summit recognition program.

o As Director of Greenearth and it’s not for profit Green Growth & Travelism Institute he is curating SUN a global initiative to support Climate Resilience, the SDG’s and Emergency Response through Green Growth & Travelism.

• Served on public / private sector Boards in Africa, Europe, Middle East and Canada: Tourism Envoy to UNDP Administrator; Member EU Commissions on Airline Liberalization and on Tourism Employment: Environment Advisor to the Governor of Jeju Island, Korea: President ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners)

• Written / lectured widely on tourism strategy, sustainability & liberalization; coauthor/ editor of two books and numerous journal articles on Green Growth & Travelism as a visiting Professor, Victoria U. Australia and Hasselt U. Belgium.

• Lipman has promoted Travelism with Heads of State, Ministers, Chief Executives and grass roots activists and is currently leading a global green growth initiative – the SUN Program, a legacy project of Maurice Strong designed to champion Climate Resilience and SDG support for Communities, through Green Growth & Travelism.

• He has worked closely with the World Economic Forum since the early 90's on its Competitiveness and Smart Travel activities and is the longest serving Member of its Travel & Tourism Global Agenda Council.

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Helen Martin
Co-Founder, Banubanu Wilderness Retreat

Helen Martin is an Arrente woman from Alice Springs. She is the Managing Director of Banubanu Wilderness Retreat, an eco-friendly resort located off the coast of Nhulunbuy, East Arnhem Land. Helen and her husband built Banubanu in 2005 to enable visitors to appreciate the natural environment that East Arnhem Land has to offer. Helen was the first Indigenous person to be named a finalist in the Entrepreneur Category of the NT Telstra Women’s Business Awards in 2015. She is the Chair of the Northern Territory Indigenous Tourism Advisory Council and a Tourism Champion under the former Tourism Australia/IBA  Indigenous Tourism Champions Program. 

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Hitesh Mehta
President, HM Design

Hitesh Mehta is one of the world’s leading authorities, practitioners and researchers on sustainable tourism, ecotourism physical planning and both the landscape architectural and architectural aspects of ecolodges. Hitesh has specialized in working with indigenous communities and ensuring that their settlements are enriched and the neighboring habitats are protected from the money received through Tourism. He has over 15 yrs of work Improving Human Settlements, promoting Ecological Restoration and Low-Carbon Development and the Social Economic Benefit Gained to the local communities. In 2015, Hitesh was the recipient of United Nations (UNEP/GFHS) “Outstanding Achievement Award” for his work with alleviating poverty and protecting sensitive ecosystems.

Hitesh’s firm HM Design is currently working on environmentally and socially friendly projects in Australia, Indonesia, Galapagos, Philippines, Nicaragua, Kenya, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Dominica and Tanzania. Hitesh has vast experience in Protected Area Physical Planning and has worked on Sustainable Tourism Plans that protect the last remaining endangered habitats and thereby addressing climate change. In July 2006, National Geographic Adventure magazine identified Hitesh as one of five Sustainable Tourism Pioneers in the world mainly because of his Master Planning work to protect endangered habitat and alleviate human poverty. Hitesh also conducts one-of-kind Ecolodge Planning and Design workshops around the world. In this conference, he will be running the ecology design component a ½ day masterclass on “Designing Multi-day Walks and Ecolodges.

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Peter Mooney
Retired General Manager, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Recently retired as the General Manager of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS), Peter began his working life as a Trainee Ranger in 1977. He attained tertiary qualifications in environmental management in 1981. Peter worked as a ranger and park manager in many of Tasmania’s parks and reserves. He has completed a number of short overseas postings for NGO’s.

For the past 12 years Peter has led the Tasmania PWS through significant change. Peter has a strong commitment to building the capabilities of conservation agencies to manage reserves in partnership with local communities and tourist operators. This has created binding agreements and partnerships between the tourism, local community and Government sectors. These connections are delivering innovative and environmentally sustainable experiences on the ground.

Tasmania is now recognised as a leader in nature based tourism experiences. Many of these products began as a licence or lease with the Tasmania PWS. Over the past decade the number of operators providing quality experiences has increased significantly, providing employment for a wide cross section of the community. Peter has also developed a great philanthropic process for key operators to assist in valued conservation programs such as eradication of feral species from reserves.


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Dr. Walailak Noypayak
Executive Director, ASEAN South Asia and South Pacific Region Department, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)

Dr. Walailak Noypayak has worked with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for three decades and she is currently the Executive Director, ASEAN South Asia and South Pacific Region Department. Prior to her present position, she was the Executive Director of Monitoring and Risk Management Department. She was the Director of Seoul Office and held many important positions in TAT planning department such as Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Director of Market Research Division, Director of Market Intelligence Division, Director of Statistics and Research Division. She was invited as guest speakers in many seminars organized by international organizations such as World Tourism Organization, World Trade Organization, APEC, ASEAN, and UNESCAP.

Her expertise lies in tourism marketing research specializing in tourist value, trade liberalization in tourism sector and crisis management. She wrote many articles for academic journals both in Thai and English languages. She holds a B.Ed. (First Class Honors) and an M.A. (English) from Chulalongkorn University and received professional trainings centered on tourism marketing from various countries, e.g., Italy, Japan, and Belgium. She earned a Ph.D. (Business Administration) from Institute of International Studies, Ramkhamhaeng University.


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Robert Pennicott
Founder & Managing Director, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Robert Pennicott has just been awarded an unprecedented 5 Gold Awards at the 2014 Australian Tourism Awards, including as winner of the Australian Tourism Legend 2014.

Robert Pennicott and his family have been operating Pennicott Wilderness Journeys since October 1999. Over its fourteen year history, it has won multiple awards. Today, there are five tours in the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys family. Bruny Island Cruises and Tasman Island Cruises showcase the spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife of Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula. From Hobart, there is Iron Pot Cruises and Tasmanian Seafood Seduction. The Bruny Island Traveller is a land-based day tour of Bruny Island departing from Hobart. Robert and his family are genuinely dedicated to operating sustainably, in harmony with the environment and local community. The business employs and trains local staff, and purchases goods and services from local suppliers wherever possible.

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is 100% Carbon Offset and an Advanced Ecotourism Certified operator. It is assessed annually by EarthCheck and exceeds world's best practice standards for efficient fuel, energy and water use. The company also donates directly to a range of conservation, humanitarian and community projects. The Pennicott Foundation has been established as the flagship for these important philanthropic activities. In 2011, Robert circumnavigated Australia in a 5.4 metre inflatable dinghy, raising $300,000 for conservation and to assist Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio from the world.

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Lou Sanson
Director-General, Department of Conservation, New Zealand

Lou Sanson was appointed as Director-General of the Department of Conservation in September 2013, after 11 years as Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand - responsible for developing, managing, and executing New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

The Department of Conservation is responsible for managing 8.5 million hectares of public land (approximately 30% of New Zealand’s landmass) and 34 marine reserves. DOC manages over 14,000km of tracks and 970 huts. These places are used by 48% of New Zealanders (approximately 1.6 million people) and approximately 30% of overseas visitors (and many more view the iconic scenery from a distance).

During his time at Antarctica New Zealand Lou has overseen the deepest ever multi-national sedimentary science drilling project in Antarctica (ANDRILL) and he led the development of Antarctica’s largest wind turbine project focussing on reducing fossil fuels at McMurdo Station and Scott Base.

Prior to this Lou was Conservator for Southland Conservancy in charge of Fiordland National Park and Stewart Island. He also led the establishment of Rakiura National Park, the sub-Antarctic World Heritage Area and one of the world’s largest island eradication projects and helped establish a network of marine reserves in Fiordland and Stewart Island.

Lou is a keen outdoor person, he enjoys natural history, hiking, ski-touring, diving and photography.

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Camilla Schippa
Director, Institute for Economics and Peace

Camilla leads the daily operations of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). She is responsible for setting the strategy for the global think tank and aligning it with opportunities to advance IEP's global reach and impact. She oversees and coordinates activities of IEP’s offices in Sydney, New York, Brussels and Mexico City. With 20 years of professional experience in building new initiatives for development and peace, guiding public-private partnerships, leading teams and coordinating vast public outreach efforts, Camilla’s first-hand expertise is in intergovernmental organizations, philanthropic strategy and academic research.Camilla’s career includes experience working at the UN, for NGOs, in academia and in foundations. She is a published author and public speaker. A Swedish-Italian citizen, she holds an MA summa cum laude in International Political Sciences from the Universita’ degli Studi di Perugia, in Italy.


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Jim Sharp
Director General, Department of Parks & Wildlife Western Australia (DPaW)

Director General, Department of Parks and Wildife Western Australia (DPaW)
Jim Sharp was born and educated in Western Australia, completing an Education degree at The University of Western Australia in 1971 and a Masters degree in 1978. In March 2014, Jim was appointed Director General in the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Prior to that he was Deputy Director General Parks and Conservation in the Department of Environment and Conservation. He was the Department of Conservation and Land Management’s Director of National Parks for 12 years and Scientific Advisor before that.
Jim has a background in social research, tourism and recreation access to protected areas, Aboriginal policy, volunteers, external funding, leases, licences, and visitation research. He is motivated by the belief that a supportive and engaged community is essential to achieving conservation outcomes and that the best way of ensuring that engagement is to give positive rewarding experiences in our parks and other natural areas.
Jim is a Board member of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation (long distance walking track) and the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation (long distance cycling trail). The Boards are models for development of unique cross regional partnerships focused on the natural environment. Jim has a strong interest in the establishment, promotion and sustainable use of protected


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Ceillhe and Neill Sperath
Founders & Directors, TIME Unlimited Tours

Ceillhe and Neill Sperath are Founders & Directors of TIME Unlimited Tours, winners of now three global tourism awards for indigenous and ecotourism in addition to a total of 18 awards for their outstanding tours around Auckland and New Zealand. TIME Unlimited Tours (where “TIME” stands for “To Integrate Maori Experiences”) focuses on providing the New Zealand luxury experiences for its guests. TIME Unlimited Tours is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tour operators servicing the luxury market and offers an extensive range of high-quality tours available both in Auckland and throughout New Zealand.  Both the range and quality of their tours makes them one of the most awarded tourism businesses in New Zealand.


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Keith Sproule
Executive Director, Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy

Keith has served as a senior adviser to government ministries on three continents, with long- and short-term consulting assignments in SE Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Africa.

Keith is the Executive Director of Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) managing a portfolio of strategic investments with partner communities in every country where A&K has an office.

Keith spent five years in Namibia working for the World Wildlife Fund on joint-venture (JV) tourism investments and conservation planning in communal land areas. With 48 established JV lodges, the Namibian model for attracting private sector investors to partner with communities committed to conservation continues to be a global example for how to balance conservation / community development / tourism growth.

He previously worked on the Tourism Investment Strategy for the Republic of Georgia, and was the tourism lead with project teams in Kosovo, Cyprus and Brazil. He was Deputy Director of the USAID funded Red Sea Sustainable Tourism Initiative in Egypt and was the first Ecotourism Adviser for the Supreme Commission of Tourism and Antiquities in Saudi Arabia.

Keith was a Fulbright Scholar focused on ecotourism planning in Belize. He has been a Field Judge for the 2005, 2008 and 2011 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) "Tourism For Tomorrow" Awards program, and is an overall WTTC Judge for Finalist Selection in 2014. He is a past two-term chairman of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and currently serves on the board of Sustainable Travel International (STI). He is a long serving board member of the Charture Institute in Jackson Hole, WY.

He is the founder and managing director of the Bentwood Inn, a luxury lodge in Jackson Hole, WY.


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Katherine Teh-White
Managing Director, Futureye

Katherine’s social licence to operate methodology and problem-solving approach has made organisations more successful in an era of quickly shifting community expectations and instantaneous communication. Her approach integrates public policy, strategy, risk communication, and foresight and change management. She has developed social licence strategy for projects ranging up to $60 billion to entire supply chain transformations across nations. With an innovative approach to sustainable development, Katherine has also facilitated projects that have resulted in communities, companies and governments signing-off on share vision and together implementing a transformation that achieved sustainable development outcomes.

Her pioneering social licence to operate methodology has improved the corporate responsibility for a broad range of industries including, food, water, energy, mining and pharmaceutical. In 2002 she founded Futureye which is Australian based but delivers projects in Asia, Europe and the Americas through our geographically diverse team. In the past six years she has also founded WikiCurve that provides a digital platform to engage with society on key policy issues and to report the progress of societal expectations.

Katherine is a board member of the Castan Centre for Human Rights at Monash University and a director of the Research Unit for Public Cultures at the University of Melbourne. She has been a director on a series of boards including: Chairman of an Academic Advisory Board for International Studies, environmental purchasing, independent private school, leadership school centre and women’s enterprise-development.

She has won a number of awards including the Golden Target award from the Public Relations Institute of Australia (1994), Telstra Business Woman of the Year private sector awardee (2001) and Victorian Women’s Honour Roll (2003). She has been listed in Who’s Who of Australian Women since 2007. She worked actively for 15 years to engage companies to sign-on to the UN Global Compact, participated in the leaders group with Kofi Annan UN Secretary General at UN Global Compact conference in New York USA (2004) and was provided an opportunity to speak to the leaders group at the 10 year anniversary. Katherine helped co-found the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme and was appointed as a Global Advisor in 2015.


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Jalsa Urubshurow
Founder & CEO, Nomadic Expeditions

Jalsa Urubshurow, Founder and CEO of Nomadic Expeditions & the Three Camel Lodge has been dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism in Mongolia for the last 26 years. After the peaceful revolution that brought democracy to Mongolia in 1990, its first Prime Minister recruited Mr. Urubshurow to advise on expanding accessibility to Western travelers, which led to the establishment of Nomadic Expeditions. Nomadic Expeditions has replicated and shared Mr. Urubshurow’s experiences exploring the wonders of Mongolia’s cultural and natural treasures with thousands of adventurers from around the world. Mr. Urubshurow has been named the “World’s Top Travel Specialist” for Mongolia by Condé Nast Traveler for the past 6 consecutive years. In 2002, Nomadic Expeditions opened the Three Camel Lodge, the first true eco-lodge accommodation in Mongolia, a pioneer and practitioner in sustainable tourism and best practices. National Geographic Traveler named the Three Camel Lodge one of the “25 World’s Best Lodges” in 2013 and the Three Camel Lodge has recently joined an acclaimed collection of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Mr. Urubshurow also served as a judge for the 2011- 2014 Tourism For Tomorrow Award of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). He is the recipient of the Order of Polar Star – the highest civilian award the government of Mongolia – and recently his company Nomadic Expeditions became one of the founding partner sponsors of the World Legacy Awards initiated by the National Geographic Society and ITB Berlin.


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Craig Wickham
Owner, Exceptional Kangaroo Island

A chance opportunity to escape suburban Adelaide in the mid-sixties saw Craig Wickham raised in the solitude of Kangaroo Islands’ north coast. Subsequent foresight saw a family tourism business established in the mid-70s. The eighties saw Craig live in South Africa, pursue wildlife management qualifications and then employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The nineties saw a return to private enterprise with a fledgling nature-based tourism business. Fast forward to 2016 – partner in a business with a staff of 18 and a well-established international tourism business showcasing the best of Kangaroo Island – after 26 years an “overnight success”!


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Steve Wroe
Director of Customer Experience and Destination Planning, Parks Australia

Managing Parks in a Connected and Competitive World: marketing, engagement, digital transformation & digital service delivery



Steve Wroe is the Director of Customer Experience and Destination Planning at Parks Australia.  He has been in the role for a year, having moved across from his role as GM of Marketing at the Intrepid Group, managing brands such as Intrepid Travel and Peregrine.  Steve has a degree in Tourism Management and Marketing and began his career as a Tour Leader for Peregrine Adventures before moving into the office and spending half his time in Product/Operations and the other half in Marketing.


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