Even bigger and better than last year, this was a tremendous event. Congratulations QTIC and especially Rhonda Appo for making it happen.

Highlights for me:

1.This annual event is clearly shifting from its origins which focussed on Indigenous employment in the Tourism Sector to an increasing focus on Indigenous tourism business and entrepreneurship (cultural experiences and general supply chain). An excellent progression.

2. Relating to above, a thoroughly entertaining case study from Johnny Murison the operator of Jarramali Rock Art Tours in North Queensland. What a journey and product…6 months from initial concept to export-ready. The way he ribbed himself, his clients and various in the room during his presentation had the whole room rolling around, while delivering a very clear and important message on an Indigenous owned and operated tourism business that shares and protects culture. Worth a plug right here. jarramalirockarttours.com.au

3. The main industry speaker (Star Entertainment Group re the Queens Wharf development) expose on the bright future in relation to Indigenous cuisine within the tourism sector. Interesting to hear about the Orana restaurant which heavily features Indigenous produce, recently voted by Gourmet Traveller as best restaurant in Australia.

4. The increasing emphasis for all industry stakeholders on country to gain knowledge, awareness and confidence in engagement with the resident Traditional Owner group, that are re-emerging through Native Title processes, are keen to share and protect their culture, achieving respect, conservation and economic development in the process.

5. Relating to above and relevant to all industries, a shift from generic acknowledgement of Traditional Owners on country where something is occurring, to the specific group being acknowledged, and their representatives providing the welcome to country.

6. Numerous stakeholders within the SEQ Indigenous Tourism Initiative that I am part of attended and presented.

7. Cameron Costello’s breakout session on Values and Principles that could be applied across the entire sector in relation to authentic tourism that reflects and engages with respective Traditional Owner groups and their respective cultures and protocols.

8. Chern’ee Sutton’s art currently on display at the venue (Pullman Hotel in Brisbane City) which has a mind-boggling affect through the provided 3D glasses…I could have stood there for hours!

9. Learning through the day in some side chats that my dot connecting over the last several weeks lead to Brisbane’s Traditional Owner reps being contacted by a tenderer on a significant tourism project coming up in Brisbane…huge potential for the group (and others in the region) collaborating with this project.

Currently at DestinationQ with a great welcome to country from the Nunukul Yuggera dance group. Let’s see what the day brings, and the QLD Tourism Awards tomorrow night.