2018 Summit Speakers

Our 2018 Summit boasted a fine line-up of speakers from Tasmania and interstate, who shared their research, insights and experience of the ever-changing tourism landscape. They imparted valuable advice on adapting to change and evolving your business to reach the next level.

Here is a snapshot of our key presenters…


Dr Polly McGee

Author | Strategist | Good Hustler

Dr Polly McGee is an author, entrepreneur educator, digital strategist, and yogi. A former executive, she has helped Government, Academic and Private enterprises to refine their business ideas, cultures and connect more deeply with their market. Voted one of the most influential people in Australian Start-ups, Polly has merged her entrepreneurial and yogic philosophy practice to create a blueprint for heart-centered businesses to sustainably scale their impact. Polly is strongly committed to compassion, selfless service, yoga, meditation and patting retired greyhounds. Her latest book, The Good Hustle, is available now.

Polly is not only our MC for the day on August 7, but she will also be delivering a workshop on “Lean User Experience” methodology, helping tourism businesses to rapidly protoype products and validate their market assumptions, enabling a more predictable product market fit.


Sara Dolnicar

Professor of Tourism, University of Queensland Business School

Sara Dolnicar is known for her work in market segmentation methodology. She is a social scientist and tourism researcher with a PhD in Business Administration, Marketing, and Tourism from Vienna University of Economics and Business. Through her tourism research, Sara develops and tests ways to encourage tourists to waste less water, energy, and food while on vacation. Sara looks at how small and “painless” behavioural changes in the billions of tourists generated each year can significantly reduce the negative impact of tourism globally, and create a more environmentally sustainable industry.

At the Summit, she will share her extensive research, as well as ways we can illicit these positive behavioural changes, whilst at the same time generating a healthier bottom line for tourism businesses.


Penny Rafferty

Executive Officer, Luxury Lodges of Australia, and
Global Manager Premium, Tourism Australia

Penny Rafferty has been Executive Officer of Luxury Lodges of Australia, heading up the marketing and operations for the organisation since its formation in 2010. She is also currently Tourism Australia’s Global Manager, Premium, developing a more focused strategy recognising and amplifying Australia’s premium and luxury tourism offering. Prior to this, she served as general manager of The Louise, Barossa Valley; general manager of a heritage winery in the Barossa; part of the launch team for the See Australia domestic tourism initiative.  Earlier in her career she led the startup marketing and development team for the performing arts festival at Spier Wine Estate in South Africa; was marketing director for an arts publishing company in London; and in the corporate development team of The Australian Opera.

Penny will explore Australia’s own unique version of “luxury”, which doesn’t necessarily involve a personal butler, white gloves and fois gras, but rather authenticity, personalisation and connection.

Michele Bain

Owner and Manager, Yondah Beach House

Michele’s background is in brand and communications. For 30 years, she and her husband Nick have operated a creative consultancy in Adelaide that specialises in brand strategy and design for organisations with a nature-based or tourism focus. More recently they have also been developing an authentic and immersive ‘Australian wildlife and conservation experience’ based around Yondah Beach House, their multi award-winning deluxe accommodation business located three hours from Adelaide. Set on 300 stunning oceanfront acres where dolphins, seals, whales and sea eagles are frequent visitors, this rural property is being restored to create new habitat for rare local species including the malleefowl and western pygmy possum, and a second deluxe beach house is currently under construction. Michele is a Director of Ecotourism Australia and a member of the SA Government’s Nature-based Tourism Task Force.

As a Hall of Fame winner for Deluxe Accommodation in the South Australian Tourism Awards and the national winner in the same category at the 2017 national awards, Yondah epitomises Australia’s unique version of luxury – all managed and delivered from 300km away!


Steve Willing

Development Coach, Growth in Mind

Steve is a certified coach with experience in the fields of leadership, purpose, career development, performance, personal issues and conflict. His training is backed by evidence based in neuroscience. His specialty is developing wisdom: building the capacity, influence and effectiveness to equip people and organisations to thrive amongst the increasing complexity and uncertainty that we live in.

For much of his career, Steve has been an outdoor education instructor and guide with a focus on personal and leadership development. Prior to starting his own coaching and facilitation practice in 2015, Steve spent 10 years in Organisational Development with the Tasmanian Fire Service.

Steve will be looking at the way we approach disruption in the tourism industry and applying the principles of vertical development to better equip you to rise to disruptive challenges with confidence and consideration.

Dave Shearing - handbuilt creative
Fri 9th May 2014
picture by Peter Mathew

David Shering

Principal, Handbuilt Creative

David Shering is the principal and creative director at one of Australia’s leading Experience Design firms – Handbuilt Creative. He has a borderline obsession with how user experience design and emerging technologies can be used together to unlock radical new ways to engage people, by providing high levels of philanthropic value during experiences to fuel exponential growth in referrals.

Many of you will have met Dave at last year’s summit, but he’s joining us again to look at the ways in which technology is evolving the visitor experience, and to give an update on the multitude of projects currently in progress in the South.

Will Hodgman

The Hon. Will Hodgman MP

Premier of Tasmania

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.


John Fitzgerald

Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Tasmania

John Fitzgerald is CEO of Tourism Tasmania. He has had an extensive career in senior executive positions in the tourism industry across Australia, having held positions in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. He is currently a member of the Premier’s Visitor Economy Advisory Council, Chair of the T21 Steering Committee and a non-executive director of Business Events Tasmania.

Allison Anderson

Allison Anderson

Manager Research & Insights, Tourism Tasmania

With a PhD in designing places for tourists and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, Allison loves all things Tasmania, research, product development and destination development. Building on a consulting career of managing consumer research programs for tourism operators in Tasmania and North Queensland, she has previously served on the board of Events Tasmania and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area consultative committee, as well as providing expert consultative advice on a range of tourism development strategies. Allison is also an Associate of the University of Tasmania.

John and Allison will be looking at the next phase in Tasmanian tourism and giving a sneak peak at the new market segmentation work carried out by Tourism Tasmania.

With thanks to our Summit Partners:



And our Trade Partners