2022 Perth Airport WA Tourism Conference - Speakers

The 2022 Perth Airport WA Tourism Conference will take place in Perth on June 21 - 22, 2022. More information is available here.


Jesse Desjardins Headshot

International Keynote

Jesse Desjardins

Experience Strategist & Former Global Manager, Social & Content Tourism Australia

During his seven-year tenure as the Global Manager, Social & Content at Tourism Australia, Jesse and his team spoke to millions of consumers daily via Tourism Australia’s digital platforms, creating strategies and experiences that made Australia the leading destination on social media.

Named as one of Skift's most-influential people in travel, Jesse has accumulated several industry accolades, including 3 Cannes Lions. He has shared his knowledge at various conferences around the world and holds an MBA with a focus in Creative Leadership.


Frank Antoine Headshot

International Keynote

Chief Frank Antoine

Indigenous Tourism British Columbia Co-Chair and Co-Founder of cultural tourism operator Moccasin Trails

Frank Antoine is a strong leader and convincing advocate for community-based Indigenous tourism in British Columbia, Canada and hails from the Bonaparte community which is part of the Shuswap Nation of the Interior Salish. He is the co-founder of Moccasin Trails, a cultural tourism company based in Kamloops, BC.

Frank is a sought-after presenter who is well-versed in a multitude of Indigenous topics including his own inspiring journey, relationship / partnership building, authentic Indigenous tourism development, Indigenous empowerment and much more.



Carolyn Turnbull Headshot

Carolyn Turnbull

Tourism WA Managing Director 

Carolyn Turnbull is the Managing Director at Tourism WA and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency including the promotion of WA as an incredible tourism destination, working with industry and government to improve access, accommodation and tourism experiences and delivering a world-class events calendar. Carolyn has more than 20 years of international leadership experience in the tourism, hospitality and aviation industry and most recently, she spearheaded the development of the western gateway as Chief Aviation Development Officer at Perth Airport. Carolyn is a graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration Advanced Management Programme and holds an Executive MBA in Hospitality Management through Nanyang Business School, Singapore. She is also a graduate of the of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Brent Anderson Headshot

Brent Anderson

Tourism Australia Regional General Manager, South, South East Asia

Brent is responsible for the marketing of Australia in a diverse set of source markets throughout the region, focused upon deriving economic benefits for Australia from inbound tourism.

Brent has over 20 years’ experience promoting Australia to international visitors with a key focus upon developing partnerships with tourism and non-tourism global organisations.  With a strong track record of achieving commercial objectives within a governmental organisation, Brent has worked with and learnt from some of the best marketers in Australia and Asia to deliver significant advantage for the Australian tourism industry.



Basil Zempilas Headshot

Basil Zempilas

Lord Mayor of the City of Perth

Basil Zempilas was elected Lord Mayor of the City of Perth in October 2020, the 18th Lord Mayor of Perth and the first following a three year period without elected leadership. This is the Lord Mayor’s first foray into Local Government and comes after a successful and ongoing broadcasting career in television and radio and as a newspaper columnist with The West Australian.

In his role as Lord Mayor, Basil was twice asked to activate the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund, first for the Wooroloo and Hills bushfire and then for the victims of Tropical Cyclone Seroja. The two appeals raised almost $25 million.



Mike McKenna Headshot

Mike McKenna

Optus Stadium Chief Executive Officer

Mike McKenna joined VenuesLive at Optus Stadium in November 2016 as Chief Executive Officer following more than eleven years on the Executive Team at Cricket Australia. In his time at Cricket Australia, Mike was responsible for marketing, venue operations, commercial revenue, event management and promotion of all forms of cricket. Mike was responsible for the development of the men's and women's Big Bash League.

As Chief Executive Officer of Optus Stadium, Mike leads a team of professionals who are responsible for operating the venue on behalf of the Government of Western Australia, attracting and delivering world-class sport and entertainment experiences for a local, national and international audience. 



Jessica Strutt Headshot


Jessica Strutt

MC, facilitator, and journalist

Jessica Strutt is a much sought after MC, facilitator and panel guest who brings a high standard of professionalism to any event.

Jess worked as a political reporter in Western Australia for more than a decade and has experience across all media platforms including print, radio, television and online. She has won numerous awards for her political, resources, indigenous and social affairs reporting.



Fiona Axford Headshot

Fiona Axford

With 40 years industry experience, Fiona has always had a passion for travel. She has worked for well-known companies such as Travel Indochina, Trafalgar Tours, Adventure World and Sabre Pacific predominately in Sales Roles. Throughout her career, Fiona has seen the industry go through many upheavals; SARS, the GFC, September 11, and recently the Pandemic all of which had a major impact on the travel industry.

For the past 7.5 years Fiona has been with BKB Holidays (formerly Broome, Kimberley & Beyond) where she has been involved in raising the company’s profile with Travel Agents, Australia wide.




Angela Beechey

Angela Beechey

Australian Hotels Association WA Skills and Workforce Development Manager

Angela commenced at the AHA(WA) as Skills and Workforce Development Manager in August 2021 to tackle workforce and skills shortage issues in the tourism and hospitality industry. The purpose of the newly created role is to identify solutions for the AHA to pursue, advocate and deliver. Since joining the AHA, Angela has successfully partnered with Tourism WA to identify and implement a variety of workforce participation initiatives including developing bespoke training programs and launching a dedicated tourism and hospitality jobs portal, westernaustralia.jobs


Derryn Belford

Derryn Belford

StudyPerth Chief Executive Officer 

Derryn joined the StudyPerth team as CEO in late February 2022, after 13 years at Tourism Western Australia. Derryn’s tourism achievements include the significant increase in new hotels built in Perth over the last 8 years, the rapid growth of the cruise ship industry in WA prior to COVID, and the continuing development of the Aboriginal tourism sector across the State. Prior to joining the international education sector, Derryn was Acting Managing Director of Tourism WA, supporting the State’s tourism industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.




Kevin Brown Headshot

Kevin Brown

Perth Airport Chief Executive Officer

Kevin joined Perth Airport as Chief Executive Officer in July 2016. Kevin has been involved in operational and commercial roles in both hub and regional airports for more than 19 years in the UK and Australia.

Prior to joining Perth Airport, Kevin held the position of Chief Executive Officer of North Queensland Airports, which operate Cairns and Mackay Airports, where he was responsible for implementing a growth strategy for both airports. He also spent nine years with the British Airport Authority (BAA) and was Managing Director at Edinburgh International Airport. In 2017, Kevin was appointed to the Tourism Western Australia Board.  Kevin is also a Board Member for AIMWA and Committee for Perth.



Anna Edie Headshot

Anna Edie

InterContinental Perth City Centre General Manager and IHG Hotels and Resort Area General Manager for SA and WA.

Anna has spent her hotel career in operations around the globe (Qatar, China, South Korea, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia) discovering and growing her love for relational leadership, diverse culture and critical thinking to drive high performance. Anna’s has worked for IHG Hotels and Resorts for 15 years.

Anna is a mentor to up and coming leaders in IHG Hotels and Resorts, was on the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion committee of IHG Hotels and Resorts, and sits on the Healthy Mind Menu Committee in Perth, a charity established to focus in on Mental Health in hospitality.  Anna plays an active role within IHG Hotels & Resorts on various other committees.

Having arrived in Perth in October 2019, Anna had a short but sweet stint operating her hotel, before a government requisition landed to take control of her asset for quarantine purposes. 


Chris Galvin

Chris Galvin

Tourism WA Senior Manager Insights and Planning

Chris manages the Insights team at Tourism WA, responsible for providing information and Insights to the Agency, partners and tourism operators. Chris is a Data and Insights professional, who honed his skills for 18 years in the pub industry in the UK, where he developed his passion for problem solving and data led decision making. Chris migrated to Western Australia in 2008 and joined the RAC, ultimately leading their Data and Analytics until he joined Tourism WA in February 2021.


Paul Hanlon Headshot

Paul Hanlon

Shire of Ashburton Manager of Business and Economic Development

Paul Hanlon is a Local Government Professional who is passionate about improving the lives of local community members throughout regional Australia.

After growing up in Cairns, in Far North Queensland, Paul studied Law and Finance at Brisbane’s Queensland University of Technology. Paul began his professional career in Small to Medium Business Accounting and Advisory in Brisbane but made the switch to Local Government in 2019.

Paul has since worked in Economic Development at the Whitsunday Regional Council in Queensland and the City of Launceston in Tasmania prior to joining the Shire of Ashburton as Manager of Business and Economic Development this year.


Fran Kirby

Fran Kirby 

Human Resources Consultant

Fran was born in Northern Ireland. She immigrated to Western Australia in 1987 having completed a Bachelor of Hospitality and Business from the University of Ulster. Having gained significant Hotel operational experience in Ireland and Australia, Fran was appointed Human Resources Manager at Observation City Hotel in 1992 until 1999. Thereafter she spent 3 years as Human Resources Manager at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. In 2003 Fran joined Accor Hotels as the Regional Human Resources Manager for Western Australia. Fran was admitted to the Australian Hotels Association “Hall Of Fame” in 2008 for services to the Hospitality Industry in Western Australia.




Anita McCracken

Anita McCracken

RAC Senior Manager Public Policy

Anita McCracken is Acting Senior Manager, Public Policy within the Social and Community Impact division at RAC. She is a policy professional with more than 12 years’ experience both inside and outside of the Western Australian Public Sector.  At RAC she is responsible for leading research, delivering collaborative evidence-based projects and trials, as well as providing policy and technical advice to support RAC’s 2030 Vision for a safer, sustainable and connected Western Australia. Anita has a Bachelor of Commerce from UWA and a Master of Public Policy and Management from Monash.


Vivienne McEvoy Headshot

Vivienne McEvoy

Kununurra Visitor Centre General Manager

Vivienne has been with Kununurra Visitor Centre for over 4 years and has been in the East Kimberley region for 14 years.

With more than 45 years in customer service between the finance, mining, aviation, and tourism industries, it is the tourism industry that is the most exciting to Vivienne. She represents KVC on the East Kimberley Marketing Group and is the Vice President of SKAL International Kununurra Branch. Vivienne also sit on the Community Consultation Committee of the Port of Wyndham and various other committees in the region. She loves visiting small towns throughout Australia and firmly believes nothing beats a road trip, particularly to Kununurra and the East Kimberley.



Karen Priest

Karen Priest

Tourism Talent Australia Managing Director

Karen Priest’s extensive career spans over 30 years in the tourism industry and hospitality sector in the United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, and Western Australia. In addition to her role at Tourism Talent, Karen is the Principal of Smart Tourism, a boutique marketing consultancy providing strategic solutions and advice to the tourism industry. She has gained significant marketing and management experience working in senior roles with various regional, state, and national tourism agencies, including Tourism Australia, Tourism Western Australia, New Caledonia Tourism, Tourism South West, and Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation. 




Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp

Tourism WA Ningaloo Eclipse Working Group Chair

Jim Sharp is the former Director General of the Department of Parks and Wildlife having retired in 2017 after 35 years involved in managing most of Western Australia’s magnificent marine and terrestrial areas. This also included 12 years as Director of National Parks. He has overseen many major infrastructure developments and initiatives in managing and facilitating tourism in the natural areas of our state. During his involvement and leadership, visitation to our national and marine parks grew dramatically to reach over 17,000,000 visits per year.




Peter Sourivong

 Peter Sourivong

Bryte Group Partner, representing Keenon Robotics

Peter Sourivong is a proud Partner of WA based innovations company - Bryte Group. With a dedication to business development, Peter's most recent project has included the large-scale procurement and distribution of COVID-19 critical products to support West Australian businesses. Currently, Peter's passion for business innovation has Bryte Group excitedly launching world class leading Autonomous Service Robots and People Counting Technology into the West Australian market.




Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor 

WAITOC Chief Executive Officer

Robert is Nhanda, Yamaji heritage. He has been in the Hospitality Industry for over 30 years. In this time, he has owned, run and managed businesses in the hospitality, tourism, mining, and construction industries. Robert became CEO of WAITOC in 2015. In this time, with the support of the board and his team he has successfully delivered the Aboriginal Tourism Development Program growing 39 new Aboriginal businesses across WA.






Jamie Van Jones Headshot

Jamie Van Jones 

Salt and Bush Eco Tours Co-owner and Operator

Jamie Van Jones is a passionate environmental educator and sustainability practitioner and professional tour guide. She previously has worked as an Expedition leader on small cruise ships to remote wilderness destinations from Antarctica to the Arctic and from the Kimberley, to the South Pacific. As an environmental educator, Jamie has lectured on environmental conservation topics around the world. Currently, Jamie is the Co-Owner and Operator of Salt and Bush Eco Tours showcasing the amazing natural values of the Peel Region through ecologically sensitive tours. Jamie also runs an environmental education not-for-profit called Swanlandia Inc. that helps kids through to adults find a deeper connection to the natural world.