It’s been a big year for Outback Queensland tourism, and it’s set to be even bigger in 2022 for two of its up-and-coming tourism professionals inducted as Young Tourism Leaders by Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last week.
Proudly representing Outback Queensland are Corey Richards, Operations Manager at Eromanga Natural History Museum, and Erin Lee, Tourism and Events Officer at Paroo Shire Council.
Minister Hinchliffe said: “The primary mission of our Young Tourism Leaders is helping the industry build a pipeline of talented tourism professionals for the future.”
“Workplace shortages brought on by the global pandemic illustrate the importance of identifying and nurturing the tourism industry’s leaders of tomorrow,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
Corey and Erin are two of 28 Young Tourism Leaders of 2022 nominated by their tourism industry employer. They have accepted their mission to promote tourism’s diverse career opportunities to their region’s senior high school, TAFE and university students.
Corey Richards, a born and bred local, is a familiar face in Outback Queensland tourism, starting as the Eromanga Natural History Museum’s Operations Manager four years ago.
“The Young Tourism Leaders program is a great opportunity for professional development and I’m so happy to be able to support and advocate for our beautiful Outback,” Mr Richards said.
“As local representatives we’re in a prime position to encourage the next generation to step up to the many opportunities to start a career in tourism in our growing region. And we’re not just visiting for the day, we’re living and breathing this industry right here where they are.
“I hope that young people looking at career options will gain some inspiration from my experience and see the amazing options a career in tourism, particularly in the outback, can deliver.
“Working at the museum, I have been able to advance my career in a place I love, manage a world-class attraction and grow networks that stretch across industries and the world. All while working with an incredibly supportive community, council, tourism industry, as well as the scientific community,” he said.
“Every day is different – I love meeting all of the people who travel out here and being a part of the continued development of a growing museum.”
For Erin Lee it was a natural move to Cunnamulla with her partner earlier in the year and she jumped at the chance to do something different in the role of Tourism and Events Officer based in Cunnamulla.
“There’s a reason I chose to move here, and it’s because of the people,” Ms Lee said.
“Our slogan in Paroo is ‘Live Like a Local’ and that’s absolutely true for anyone. Whether you’re passing through or just moved here, everyone is happy to help anyway they can.”
“It’s a wonderful tourism industry out here with strong mentors and advocates for the industry. Even though I have a different background they have been really open and willing to share and support me, unlike any industry I’ve worked in before.
“We’ve had an amazing year in 2021. The Year of Outback Tourism has been a great boost for our region, and COVID restrictions have helped bring people out here. But we need to keep working to bring people out here to explore their backyard and that includes having the people working in the industry,” she said.
“This is an industry that will give you the opportunities to keep growing and following your passion and talents. It has so much to offer and great variety from events, information centres, bar work, hotels, agri-tourism, cultural tourism. Whatever you’re passionate about, or skilled at can work in tourism.”
“There’s a lot more security and flexibility in tourism that people think and you never know where it can lead. It’s an industry that can offer you a life-long career,” she said.
“Tourism is a key industry to Australia, and we want to get as many people as we can to take up the many jobs available within tourism in our region.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my career journey and being able to encourage people to join this industry,” Ms Lee said.