2016 Conference Profile

Hobart, TAS

21–23 November 2016

Keynote Speakers 2016

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Dr. Kay Booth
Deputy Director-General, Department of Conservation, New Zealand

Dr. Kay Booth is Deputy Director-General, Partnerships with the New Zealand Department of Conservation.  Kay leads the Department’s work with others to achieve more conservation. The Department has partnerships with Maori (first nation people), philanthropists, business, other government agencies, NGOs and community organisations.

Kay’s background is in eco-tourism, having worked as a tourism consultant and academic in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

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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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Vince Coulthard
CEO, Adnyamathanha Traditional Land Association

Vince Coulthard is an Adnyamathanha man with more than 30 years experience in cultural/environmental  tourism.  He grew up learning his culture from his Elders and his dad always believed the only way to really make a difference in Australia was for Aboriginal people to share their culture.  So Vince's family set up an Aboriginal tourism property in the Flinders Ranges which is their traditional lands, to share with visitors, their cultural knowledge and how to look after the land.

He has had a varied career including with National Parks, Councillor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, CEO of Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association and CEO of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association.

In his role at ATLA he has been instrumental in the purchasing the iconic Wilpena Pound Resort in partnership with Indigenous Business Australia.  With his leadership assistance they have gone from 0% Aboriginal employment to currently 68%.  They also now offer a range of cultural tours run by Adnyamathanha people.

Vince is very passionate about the role Aboriginal culture must play in eco tourism.  His culture underlies everything he does in both his work and family life.

Whilst he doesn't look for recognition, he has received many accolades including the Local Hero Australian of the Year Award for 2015, The Slim Dusty Mateship Award 2011 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in the National NAIDOC Awards in 2010.

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Inthy Deuansavan
CEO, Green Discovery Adventure and Ecotourism

First working at the Finance Department of Xayaboury Province in Laos, Mr. Inthy chose to take a path as an independent business man. He started as a salesman and advanced to a sales and marketing manager for 5 years at the Dennis Distribution Company for Marlborough cigarettes in Laos
With his newly acquired experienced he decided to open his own business, the famous ‘Khop Chai Deu’ Restaurant in Vientiane, which quickly developed into a highly popular place for tourists and locals alike.
Being a passionate sportsman combined with the love for nature, it didn’t take long that he founded the adventure and eco-tourism company “Green Discovery Laos”, which evolved soon into the flagship of Lao nature-based tourism and Mr. Inthy became the leading promoter and spokesman for the new line of tourism Laos wanted to go for.

Despite being already deeply engaged with these companies, he did not rest and opened 2 further restaurants in Vientiane and 4 hotels cum restaurant spread over the country in the course of just a few years. 

In the same time his businesses grew and diversified into an empire called the” Inthira Group”, including a Service Company and, as the latest addition, an joint venture for import.         

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John Fitzgerald
CEO, Tourism Tasmania

John Fitzgerald is CEO of Tourism Tasmania. He has had an extensive career in senior executive management positions in the tourism industry in Australia, having held positions at national, State/Territory and regional levels. Previous to his current position, John held the position of CEO at Tourism NT.
John has also held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC), where he managed the successful completion of the seven- year STCRC program. Before then, John was CEO at Tourism Sunshine Coast, one of Queensland’s major regional tourism organisations.

John has held numerous board, committee memberships and Directorships as is currently a director of the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and Business Events Tasmania. Former directorships have included the NT Major Events Company, the Darwin Waterfront Corporation, the national Indigenous Tourism Working Group and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.
John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and is married with two children.

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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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Wendy Hills
Acting Director Customer Experience Division, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service

Wendy has spent the last 23 years working in the tourism industry in various marketing and development roles, including destination, product and industry development with a proven expertise in sustainable indigenous tourism and the importance that this sector plays in identifying Australia's cultural strengths and 'point of difference', in a very competitive global marketplace.

She has worked for private enterprise companies, two State Tourism Organisations and Tourism Australia as the head of the Australian Experiences team, responsible for the development and marketing of Australia's 7 key experiences, including ‘Natural Australia’ and ‘Aboriginal Australia’.

In November of 2008, Wendy joined Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), the federal agency responsible for assisting Indigenous Australians maximise opportunities for wealth creation through home ownership, businesses enterprise and/or equity investments.

Wendy joined the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in December 2011, in the role of Manager, Cultural Tourism, responsible for the development of cultural tourism experiences within relevant NSW National Parks and Reserves.

For the past 3 years, she has managed the Tourism and Partnerships Unit, and is currently acting Director of the Customer Experience Division.

She is a Board member of the Booderee National Park joint Board of Management and a Director of Ecotourism Australia.


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The Hon. Will Hodgman MP
Premier of Tasmania
Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs


Will Hodgman is Tasmania’s 45th Premier.

Will was born and educated in Hobart, Tasmania. He graduated in Arts and Law at the University of Tasmania in 1993 and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 1994.

In 1995, Will worked in the United Kingdom with the Wiltshire County Council, prosecuting cases of child abuse and neglect.

In 2002, Will was elected as a Liberal Member for Franklin in the Tasmanian House of Assembly and was appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

In March 2006, Will became Leader of the Liberal Party and the State Opposition. At the 2014 State Election, Will led the Liberal Party to Government, securing the largest majority for any Government since the 25 member Parliament was established in 1998.

Will was sworn in as Tasmania's forty-fifth Premier on March 31st 2014 and is Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events, Sport and Recreation and Aboriginal Affairs.

Will serves as a member or patron of numerous sporting and community organisations.

Will is married to Nicky, and they have three children; William, James and Lily.


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Jane Hutchinson
CEO, Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC)

Ecotourism Needs Nature, but Does Nature Need Ecotourism?


Nature is part of Australia’s identity.  Nature features on our bank notes, on our coat of arms, in our national anthem, in our songs, literature, music.  In Australia, nature completely surrounds us, from the tropical rainforests and savannahs of northern Australia to the central deserts, to our vast ocean coastlines and in Tasmania the Wilderness World Heritage Area to our west.

For people nature is a great provider.  It gives us clean water, clean air, a stable climate, healthy soils and pollinated crops; it gives us shelter, medicine, cultural connection to place and inspiration for art, music and literature.  And, nature gives people a place to recreate and to restore our minds and our bodies.

The Tasmanian Land Conservancy is not for profit, non-government, community based, a political, environmental organisation driven by science and business principles to look after nature on private land in Tasmania.  The TLC, as it is fondly known, has a vision for Tasmania to be a global leader in nature conservation.  Eco tourism is an important part of the economic, social and environmental mix for Tasmania to achieve that vision.  Giving people positive and authentic experiences in nature is one of the most powerful ways for people make their own personal connection with nature.  It is this personal connection that will make nature last for generations to come.

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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Steve Killelea AM
Founder & Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace

What is the Relationship between Peace and Tourism?

There is no other industry in the world  that is as dependent on peace as tourism. If there is a terrorist attack on a tourist destination then it takes, on average, eight years for the sector to fully recover. This presentation will explore the relationship between peace and a thriving business environment, while placing a special emphasis on the tourism industry. 
The presentation will also cover the current state of global peace, the changes that have occurred in the last decade as well as the bright spots which run counter to the overarching narrative of global conflicts which dominate these troubling times. It will also highlight how peace research can be used to help in determining and mitigating risk in relation to tourism investments as well as presenting the latest highlights from the Global Terrorism Index which will be released the week prior to the conference.
 Finally, a lack of peace comes with an economic cost. The presentation will highlight the cost of violence to the global economy and focus in on the countries which have the least and the highest costs associated with violence.     

Steve Killelea is an accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent research institute dedicated to better understanding the social and economic factors that develop a more peaceful society.

Steve currently serves on a number of influential Company Boards, Advisory Boards and President Councils. In 2010 he was honoured as Member of the Order of Australia for his service to the global peace movement and the provision of humanitarian aid to the developing world. In 2013 Steve was nominated one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Armed Violence Reduction”.


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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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David Major
Executive Director, Visitor Engagement and Conservation, Parks Victoria

David is a Yuin/Maneroo man from south eastern New South Wales.
David has extensive experience in public land management, particularly in cultural heritage and community engagement.
He has previously worked with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and also owned his own consultancy business, before joining Parks Victoria in 2013 as the Manager of Culture and Heritage.
He has a strong background in policy, strategic planning and operational work.


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Helen Martin
Owner Operator, Banubanu Wilderness Retreat, Bremer Island, North East Arnhem Land Chair, NT Indigenous Tourism Advisory Council (ITAC) and Board Member, Centre for Appropriate Technology, Alice Springs

Bridging the Gap-Indigenous Eco-Tourism in the NT


Indigenous eco-tourism by its very nature ought to be a “no brainer” in regional and remote Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders have for tens of thousands of years protected, cared for and understood intimately the land and oceans upon which we have llived and relied. We have for so long lived in harmony with the environment, and now willingly interact with those who wish to better understand the integral cultural link between sustainability of the environment and the first inhabitants of this nation.

This paper aims to identify positive case studies of indigenous tourism initiatives in the Northern Territory including my own Wilderness Retreat in East Arnhem Land, and the steps being taken by the NT Government to support the development of sustainable indigenous tourism product to fill an identified gap in the cultural tourism market in Australia. I will identify the important work of the NT Indigenous Tourism Advisory Council (ITAC) in providing policy advice to the NT Government and support for developing indigenous
tourism product.

The paper also examines the inherent challenges faced by indigenous communities and individuals in developing resilient and sustainable tourism products. These include the realities of geography and difficult access, the annual environmental extremes affecting regular cash flow, the assorted degrees of understanding of governance and business management principles and varying levels of enthusiasm to embrace tourism as one possible solution to economic independence for community participants.

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

Tourism and Conservation: a natural marriage

For too long tourism and conservation have been discussed as opposing forces. In Tasmania we have formed a marriage between these two important human needs. In fact, to be a viable tourism operator you need the values of conservation that is; ethical use and protection of natural resources. I would argue that conservation needs the values of ecotourism, that is; pleasure, improving the well-being of local people and understanding and respect of the local environment. In Tasmania, the ‘Parks 21’ agreement is the marriage contract between tourism and conservation in reserves. The real power of the agreement is the realization that each partner can benefit from each other. A better understanding of each industry needs has created more shared outcomes. Keeping a successful marriage is hard work. The culture of organizations such as Park Agencies have to change to be able to accept tourism operators as true partners. Tourism operators have to practice what they preach in respect to sustainable activities. The Tasmanian Government is now responding to serious lobbying from the tourism industry for the provision of sustainable facilities in parks and reserves that support new tourism market segments. The Three Capes Track is a fine example. Allowing more choices of sustainable experiences in reserves for visitors can help improve the health of reserves. The ecotourism industry is providing real money to assist feral animal eradication programs. Citizen science programs such as Green Guardians is improving the knowledge base of our natural environment at no cost to government.

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. Kaewta Muangasame
Assistant Dean and Lecturer Mahidol University, Thailand

Dr. Kaewta Muangasame completed a Ph.D. at School of Tourism and Hotel Management, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Currently, Dr. Kaewta is serving as Assistant Dean for Administration and Academic Support and also as lecturer and researcher in Tourism and Hospitality Management Division, Mahidol University International College, Thailand. Dr. Kaewta holds an M.Sc. in International Hospitality Management from Leeds Metropolitan University, The United Kingdom. She has been involved in various consultancy projects in both Tourism and Hospitality fields. For academic service, she served as a marketing trainer for Tourism Authority of Thailand, and her research interests are in areas of ecotourism and green-tourist behaviours, destination branding, sustainable tourism planning and policies, interpretation in tourism, and visitor management


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Rick Murray
Chairman, Ecotourism Australia

Rick Murray, pioneered experience-based, minimal impact tours across the north of Australia with Odyssey Safaris, the company he established and developed into an industry leading operation.

He has been actively involved at the ‘coal face’ of nature based tourism for over 30 years and has a detailed knowledge of the interaction between tourism and our natural and cultural heritage right across the north of the continent.

Over the years Rick has provided advice in regions as diverse as Sabah (Malaysian Borneo), Papua New Guinea’s Western Province, Tasmania, Central Australia, the Pilbara and the Gulf of Carpentaria, commonly on the interaction between government and private enterprise in the development of a sustainable regional economy.

Over the past three decades he has served on a number of tourism industry committees and Boards, particularly those focussed on issues affecting our natural and cultural environment and on the continual improvement of industry standards among tour operators and guides. Until recently he was Chairman of the Kakadu Tourism Consultative Committee and a member of the Kakadu National Park Board of Management, positions he has held since 2002.

He has been a Director of Ecotourism Australia Ltd since 2006 and is currently the Chairman.


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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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Ben O'Hara
General Manager Land and Environment, The Gainsdale Group

Developing a Great Walk in Queensland

Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the finance and property industry. He has worked in management, client management and origination roles with local and international institutions that saw him develop skills in project analysis and assessment, investment analysis and execution, relationship management, strategic planning, instigation and ongoing review and business development.

In 2012 Ben began working in the environmental sector as General Manager for the Queensland Trust for Nature where he oversaw the extraction of QTFN from the Qld state government, engage with practical work in establishing wildlife corridors, ecological restoration and biodiversity offsets within QTFN the revolving fund. Ben joined Gainsdale in March this year to assist develop the Turner Foundation, the ecological vehicle of Graham and Jude Turner. The Turner Foundation is currently developing the Hidden Vale UQ Wildlife Facility and the Little Liverpool Range Initiative, a community led wildlife and ecological corridor.

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Tamara O'Shea
Director-General, Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing

With more than 30 years of state and federal public sector experience across program delivery, policy development and governance, Tamara ensures the department’s strategic direction and objectives are aligned with the Queensland Government’s priorities.

As head of the department, Tamara holds primary responsibility for planning activities, resource decisions, policy initiatives, and risk management. She also leads collaboration both within the department and across government, as well as engagement and liaison with NPSR’s key customers and stakeholders.

Tamara is also a Queensland Government Community Champion for the Pormpuraaw community in Cape York, and an advocate for emerging and aspiring females across all industries including government.

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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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John Schutz
Director of National Parks, Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources

John has a background in viticulture, horticulture and conservation and land management. He started working in nursery and vineyard management, later progressing to management positions including Manager of the Hills Botanic Gardens, Manager of Mount Lofty Precinct and Head of Gardens, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and then moved to a number of Executive roles working across the whole of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
In July 2012, John was appointed to his current position of Group Executive Director, Parks and Regions, as well as the Director National Parks and Wildlife SA.
The Parks and Regions Group encompasses the management of national parks and reserves and marine parks in South Australia, fire management, major project delivery, volunteer and visitor services and investigations and compliance. The Group also manages regional delivery of department business, via eight regions who also support program delivery for the State’s Natural Resources Management Boards.


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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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Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor has spent the last 28 years in the hospitality industry. Beginning in the back of house Roberts journey began in the kitchen where he qualified as a chef. He became executive chef for ALH in 1999, where he had a number of his recipes published in publications such as Table Magazine. In 2000 Robert and his partner went into hospitality property management and in 2003 formed a management company Forte Hospitality of which he was managing director of for the past 14 years.

Mr Taylor a Nhanda man has become the new CEO for WAITOC after a successful 14 months as the Association’s Chairman becomes WAITOC’s first ever Western Australian Aboriginal CEO. With Mr Taylor’s migration from the Board table to become the chief administrator. His business experience, together with the knowledge he obtained during his time as the WAITOC Chair will be used to ensure the (ATDP) Aboriginal Tourism Development Program delivers outstanding tourism and economic outcomes while creating strong business enterprises for Aboriginal people and communities.

Robert specializes in operations of all areas of Hospitality, Tourism and mining and construction camps. Utilizing his decades of experience he has mentored and consulted for Aboriginal SME in both Western Australia and nationally. With this experience and his own operational expertise he has a proven track record of developing business.


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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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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, from Parks Australia, will be speaking about his transition from his life in the private sector with Intrepid Travel, to a government agency.  He’ll discuss what he has learned; applying the principles of marketing, research, customer centricity and digital transformation in the government environment.  From the introduction of a successful e-commerce platform, to evidence-based decision making and how it informs the approach to building park visitation, Steve will focus on Kakadu National Park, and how Parks Australia will take Kakadu from being World Heritage and world famous, to world class.


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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