(image: Australian Tourism Award silver winning campaign: Pie Time from the Southern Highlands – Steve Rosa and Todd Wright)
We took some time out to have a chat with Threesides Director, Todd Wright to chat all things Tourism Awards.
This is the first time you’ve been a judge at the Australian Tourism Awards. What encouraged you to accept this opportunity?
Having been involved in the Canberra Region Tourism Awards since 1998 and taken part in almost every aspect of the event over the years, it was only fitting that I set my sights on the national stage for 2018. Being a judge is the highest level of contribution, which holds great privilege and responsibility. It also takes about 50 hours of volunteering so let’s just say I waited (and waited and waited) until I said yes.
What are you hoping to get out of the role?
The opportunity to look at the businesses who are at the top of their field, what they are doing and how they are doing it. Australia has some of the best tourism offerings in the world, and being involved gives me a renewed inspiration for running a great business.
The QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards presentation 2019 will be held in Launceston, Tasmania in 2019. Have you got travel plans while you’re down there?
Yes! I have two trips down to Tassie planned, one for judging and one for the presentation. I plan to visit Freycinet National Park – Wineglass Bay, and venture around Launceston itself. I have a date with a steak at The Black Cow that I am also looking forward to. I’ve been to Tasmania about five times before, and every time I return it only gets better. I also want to have a pit stop at Freycinet Marine Farm for the best oysters in Aus (and see the famous oyster table in the river that Tourism Australian uses in its campaigns) and visit some of the Tassie wineries!
You’ve written plenty of Tourism Award submissions over the years. What’s your number?
Over the years I would say collectively, myself and Threesides, have been involved in writing over 20 submissions. I have worked on submissions that received a bronze or silver at Nationals, but never a Gold. I’m hoping that one day one of our submissions will be a Gold winner. Lauren G in the office is the gun writer – I admire her style and passionate tourism language. I read her stuff and it makes me want to stop what I am doing and go on a holiday.
What would you say makes a local or national award-winning submission?
To make an award-winning submission you must tell the tourism story. It should convey the passion of the people who run the business and put into practice the art of storytelling while ensuring that all arguments are supported with undeniably strong facts.
My four tips are: 1. Tourism, 2. Passion, 3. Story Telling and 4. Evidence
And of course – use the judges feedback to improve not only your submission but also your business. The whole point of the awards is to build god businesses so this is the best and most independent review of your business and its plans you’ll get all year.
What is one of your best memories from the awards over the years?
When I won the student tourism award (way back in in 2003), and a trip to the nationals in Adelaide was one highlight. Not many people know this, but I am a massive Steve Irwin fan and I was told that he would be at the awards ceremony that night to get his Outstanding contribution to Tourism Award. Turns out he couldn’t make it and when George Negus, a little part of me died (And then we all know what happened to poor ol’ Steve). Oh and there was that one time in Hobart that involved a Scalllop Pie, The Salamanca markets and a whole bunch of local tourism industry faces from Canberra…. (but that’s a story for another day).
Threesides have sponsored the local awards for 11 years now, why does this continue to be an important partnership for you?
When we first started the business, tourism was about 80% of our business. Over the years as our client base has diversified, tourism now represents far less of our revenue at around 25% but is still one of our most loved industries in which we work. Good people, good places and good times – that’s what tourism is all about. WHy wouldn’t you want to keep supporting and working in it?
What is the future for the Australian Tourism Awards?
Based on the industry support and robust structure of the program, its future is bright. There does however need to be ongoing innovation of the program to ensure that smaller businesses with limited resources can enter it. On average, it takes about 70 – 100 hours to complete an award winning submission. So, you can imagine the cost involved for an emerging, self-funded business. This program has been running locally and nationally for 30 years and has stood the test of time because it is such a solid program and has become a credible measure of outstanding tourism in the industry.
Check out the list of the 2018 Australian Tourism Award finalists and Canberra Region Tourism Awards winners (we designed and launched their new wensite this year).