Conference program

The 2016 WA Tourism Conference includes a range of social events, key speakers, panel sessions and networking opportunities across three days. 

Monday, August 8

Optional additional workshops and touring activities are available for delegates on Monday, click here for more information.

6.00pm - 8.00pm

Welcome Cocktail Function

Includes official welcome by Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO

Tuesday, August 9

7.15am - 8.45am

VCWA Breakfast (Not included in conference registration - $50pp) 

Visitor Centres WA members are invited to attend this breakfast for the presentation of the GWN7 Top Tourism Town Category Awards and  an update on VCWA activities.

Please note the venue for this event is Parmelia Hilton Perth.

8.00amRegistrations commence Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

Introduction by Master of Ceremonies

Trevor Cochrane, Guru Productions Managing Director


Launch of Tourism Works Campaign

Evan Hall, Tourism Council WA Chief Executive Officer


Opening address

Hon. Colin Barnett MLA, Premier; Minister for Tourism


Address by Leader of the Opposition

Hon. Mark McGowan MLA


Robert Pennicott

Pennicott Wilderson Adventures

10.30amMorning tea break

Tourism Australia Update

Lisa Ronson, Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer


Tourism Western Australia Update

Gwyn Dolphin, Tourism WA Acting CEO


Marketing Destination Experiences

The latest research, insights and advice from a range of perspectives including successful interstate and local destinations. Panellists:

  • Lisa Ronson, Tourism Australia 
  • Gwyn Dolphin, Tourism WA 
  • Tracey Cooper, Mornington Peninsula 
  • Pip Close, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association 
  • Dean Massie, RAC Parks & Resorts

Facilitated by Karen Priest, MAPTO


Keynote Speaker

Tom O'Toole, The Beechworth Baker


Key Speaker 2: Social Media Update

Kim Barrett, Your Social Voice


Sharing Economy Panel

With the sharing economy growing in popularity, hear from panellists on the latest research, policy and the impact the technology is having on the tourism industry.

  • Sam McDonagh, Airbnb
  • John Hart, Restaurant & Catering Australia
  • Christof Pforr, Curtin University
  • Hon Alyssa Hayden MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier; Minister for Tourism
  • Andrew Dolling, Department of Finance

Facilitated by Evan Hall, Tourism Council WA

3.30pmAfternoon tea break

Key Speaker 3

Deidre Willmott, Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA CEO

5.00pmDay One Concludes

Optional additional touring activities are available for delegates on Tuesday evening, click here for more information.


Wednesday, August 10

 Marketing & AccessExperiences & PlacesIndustry Sectors

VC Regional Grant Funding Case Studies

Share your ideas on what worked and what didn't when applying for your network grant.


Social Media & Digital Marketing Panel

Insights into the latest in social media and digital marketing. Panellists:

  • Guy Turner, The Sunday Times
  • Quie Morrison, Tourism WA
  • Karen Dauncey, Blue Cherry
  • Sean Blocksidge, The Margaret River Discovery Co
  • Suzanne Fisher, Australia's Coral Coast

Facilitated by Meg Coffey, Coffey & Tea

Setting the Scene: The value of tourism, natural and cultural experiences

Professor Ross Dowling OAM

How to grow sales and build a sustainable Visitor Centre

Learn how to use customer focussed selling tools to help build a sustainable visitor centre. 

  • Jurek Leon, Terrific Trading

Online Distribution Panel

Learn from an expert panel how to best promote your product and reach millions of potential customers through online booking platforms. Panellists:

  • Shannon Saines, Expedia
  • Simon Lenoir, Rezdy
  • Derek Martin, Pan Pacific Perth
  • Nicole Passarelli, Rottnest Express
  • Bernard Whewell, Distinctly Travel Management

Facilitated by Lisa D'Souza, SightSeeing Pass Australia

Case Studies: Exciting New Experiences


  • Rod Annear, Department of Parks and Wildlife
  • Murray Gomm, Oranje Tractor
  • Nikki King, Walk Into Luxury
  • Anna Catelli and Rob Wallis, Donnelly River Holiday Village


Continued from above - How to grow sales and build a sustainble Visitor Centre
10.30amMorning tea break  

How to make 'Just Another Day in WA' relevant for your business

This session will look at the recent evolution of the Experience Extraordinary brand, outline how the 'Just Another Day in WA' campaign is being rolled out and how you can get involved. Presented by Tourism WA Acting CEO, Gwyn Dolphin.

Nature Based Tourism I: Camping, Glamping and Caravan Parks


  • Jim Sharp, Department of Parks & Wildlife
  • Paolo Amaranti, Rottnest Island Authority
  • Simon Glossop, Caravan Industry Association WA

Katanning SuperTown Project

Katanning is undertaking an ambitious $19m development project to enhance both access and the visitor experience for people travelling to the region. Speakers:

  • Sam Davis, Shire of Katanning
  • Nigel Oakey, Dome

Great staff, great service

Rachel Argaman, TFE Hotels

Nature Based Tourism II: Destinations

Speaker Griffin Longley on Nature Play and the Parks Foundation

Engaging your membership

How to attract and engage members and promote the value of tourism.


Aviation Panel

A panel of industry heavyweights discuss the developments and future of the industry in WA. Panellists:

  • Julian Barry, Qantas
  • Claire Werkmeister, Tourism WA
  • Paul McSweeney, Broome International Airport
  • Kevin Brown, Perth Airport

Facilitated by Evan Hall, Tourism Council WA

Adding Value: Guided Experiences

Tour Guides Association and FACET Golden Guide winners provide insight on guided experiences. Speakers:

  • Cherie Toovey, Tour Guides Association WA
  • Helen Lee, Bushtucker Tours
  • Sean Blocksidge, Margaret River Discovery Company

The Future of Caravan Parks

With many Park purchases by corporations, what do you need to do to sell?

  • David Harris, RMS
  • David Jones, RMS
  • Stewart Kestel, Caravan Park Brokers Australia

Franchise Branding

What does it mean to be in a marketing chain and how does it affect your business?

  • Karl Heyman, Family Parks
  • Clive Johnson, Mandalay Holiday Resort & Tourist Park
  • Simon Shuttleworth, BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park

Best Practice Caravan Park Case Study

Listen to a park operator on how they grew their business by developing their park.


Engaging the Media and Influencers Panel

Hear from those in the media about how to work with them to gain exposure. Panellists:

  • Sue Papadoulis, Publicity for Profit
  • Georgia Rickard, Travel Editor
  • Trevor Cochrane, Guru Productions
  • Cory Gale, Visit Sunshine Coast
  • Michelle Kosonen, Tourism WA

Facilitated by Emma Page, Tourism Council WA

Indigenous Tourism: Where to from here?

Robert Taylor, WAITOC CEO

Continued from above.
3.00pmAfternoon tea break  

Branding Session

Presentation from Howard Cearns, Alex Hotel & Shadow Wine Bar, Hippocampus Distillery, Boatrocker Brewery (VIC), Lost & Grounded Brewery (UK), Braincells

Indigenous Art: Connecting to Country

  • Dale Tilbrook, Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery
  • Marilyn Morgan, Kambarang Services

Caravan Industry Update

Hear the direction and what work the Association is undertaking on behalf of members.

  • Simon Glossop, Caravan Industry Association WA
  • Stuart Lamont, Caravan Industry Association of Australia

Food and Wine Experiences

  • Claire Savage, Savagely Creative
  • Pip Close, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association
  • Marie Redman, Taste Great Southern
  • Jamie Hatcher, Southern Forests Food Council
5.00pm Close 
6.15pmPre-Dinner drinks commence  

Conference Dinner

Featuring dinner speaker Mick Colliss. Includes presentation of the GWN7 Top Tourism Town Awards. Dinner MC is GWN7 news presenter Noel Brunning.


To register for the 2016 WA Tourism Conference, click here.

Program and speakers subject to change.