• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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7 and 8 October, 9am-12:30pm AEDT

The Visitor Information Services (VIS) Summit is the yearly meeting place for all VIS personnel, economic development staff and regional tourism bodies. Delving deep into the customer experience, the Summit program features professional development sessions, case study presentations, keynotes and opportunities to learn from others. Delegates also benefit from regional study tours showcasing the host region to gain product knowledge across Victoria.

The VIS Summit aims to:

  • Provide updates on key issues affecting the tourism industry and specifically management of Visitor Information Services
  • Provide a forum to share knowledge, practical experiences and future innovations for visitor servicing
  • Strengthen networks and build relationships among individuals, businesses, regions and local areas where tourism is a key economic driver
  • Examine the business values and practices needed to remain competitive and to provide professional visitor information services
  • Encourage ongoing support for sustainable tourism growth in Victoria

Hosted by a different tourism region each year, the 2020 Summit will be the 20th edition of the event.

In the current coronavirus-restricted world, we recognise the connection this event provides remains as crucial as ever. With the support of our sponsors, including the 2020 host region Warrnambool City Council, VTIC is pleased to confirm that the event will be delivered this year as a virtual conference.

The reimagined 2020 VIS Summit will be held 7 and 8 October, 9am – 12:30pm AEDT.

With a theme of COLLABORATION, the program will explore how we can work together across teams, communities, regions and States as the tourism industry navigates the continuing uncertainty and adapts to the new normal. Visitor information services will need to work in collaboration with the community more than ever to adapt to new types of visitors in a changed travelling environment.





Day One

All times are AEDT.

9 – 9:10 Welcome

9:15 – 9:55 Collaboration – Unlocking Team Success

Janine Garner, Hons. Bsc.

Janine is a global thought leader on powerful networking, collaboration and unleashing leadership brilliance. She is passionate about building high performing leaders and teams and bringing brilliant people together to achieve remarkable results.

Janine spent 20 years working her way across the world putting together award-winning marketing campaigns and strategies for high-profile brands like Ralph Lauren, Oroton, Jaeger, Sainsbury’s Homebase and Citizen Watches. It was whilst working as a senior leader that she learnt about the power of connection and what it takes to unlock the brilliance in teams and leaders.

 Janine Garner appears by arrangement with Saxton Speakers Bureau.

 10:00 – 10:35 Consumer Sentiment Research – How VICs can assist with Market Recovery

Associate Professor Gabby Walters, University of Queensland

 Associate Professor Gabby Walters has a substantial background in tourism marketing with an emphasis on consumer psychology.  Her recent focus on COVID-19 and travel behaviour has produced valuable insight as to what Australia’s tourism industry can expect from domestic travellers and how to navigate their way through these uncertain times.


10:35 – 10:50 Break

10:50 – 11:30 Industry Update

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

11:35 – 12:10 Breakouts x 2

Local Stories and the Tours of the Future: The Warrnambool and Storytowns Collaboration

Jarrod Pickford, Storytowns

 Best Practice Case Study

Scott Fleming, Swan Valley Visitor Centre Manager

2019 Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame winner, Visitor Information Services

Scott has enjoyed working in a variety of sectors within travel and tourism, both in government and private enterprise, in Australia and overseas. His work history includes management roles with Flight Centre Travel Group, Accor Hotels and Renaissance Cruise Lines.

Since 2006 Scott has been the Manager at Swan Valley Visitor Centre for the City of Swan. He is responsible for the strategic direction of visitor servicing in the Swan Valley and involved in all areas of tourism. With extensive experience in travel, tourism, staff and financial management, he has the pleasure of leading one of Australia’s most successful and highly awarded tourism teams.

Scott has been on the board of the Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia, the executive committee of the Swan Valley Tourism Council and judged the Perth Airport Tourism Awards and the GWN7 Top Tourism Awards for a number of years.

*This will be a pre-recorded session.

12:10 – 12:20 Close/Wrapup


Day Two

All times are AEDT.

9 – 9:05 Welcome

9:05 – 9:45 Destination Marketing: It’s all about collaboration

Glenn Harvey, City of Greater Bendigo (Bendigo Tourism)

2019 Australian Tourism Awards Gold winner, Destination Marketing.

Glenn has been leading the tourism marketing team since 2011 to help position Bendigo as a leading cultural and arts destination. One of Bendigo’s biggest success stories has been the tourism’s team’s collaboration with the Bendigo Art Gallery to promote its major International exhibitions across Australia and Internationally. Glenn will share insights into how they have turned exhibitions into a full destination experience through collaboration with the local and regional businesses and 3rd party sponsors.

9:50 – 10:20 Enhancing Visitor Services: a collaborative approach between a capital city and regional council

City of Melbourne and East Gippsland Shire Council have been working in partnership to share knowledge and explore new ways of working between regions. Tanya Bonte (Tourism Development Officer) and Wendy Spong (Visitor Information Centre Supervisor) will present on their shared experiences.

10:20 – 10:35 Break

10:35 – 11:05 Managing the Changing Customer needs during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Susan Kelso, Department of Transport

 Susan has over 25 years National and International experience across a range of industries including transportation, utilities, banking and finance.  An early age CEO for a Lufthansa company, Susan recognised the impacts changing technologies were having on business models, the customer experience and employee experience, so set about strengthening her expertise in Transformation, Technology, Marketing, Digital and Customer Experience – all with a Human Centred Design approach.

Susan’s passion lies in Executive Leadership and she thrives in transforming businesses through enriching the Employee and Customer Experience, using human interactions, data & digital technologies to enable.

11:10 – 11:50 Breakouts x 2

Volunteer Engagement

Georgie Stayches, Fetching Events and Communications

With over twenty-five years’ experience in events and volunteer engagement including major international events, the private sector, government and not-for-profit, Fetching Events and Communication’s founder Georgie Stayches, made a conscious career decision to focus on working within the community sector.

Georgie is passionate about engaging effectively with volunteers and volunteer leaders to ensure strong and effective programs. Her experience includes development and delivery of training programs and manuals, internal communications, volunteer recruitment and management, and consultation.

Georgie has recently worked with Make-A-Wish-Australia, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Tasmanian Hospitality Association, Clubs Tasmania and United Way Melbourne.

This interactive workshop will include case studies, discussion and handouts.

*This breakout is for team leaders and managers.

Unshakeable at Work

Sue Anderson

Sue Anderson works in the field of Emotional Intelligence. Her specialty is helping people develop mental toughness so they can excel in the pressures of the modern workplace.  With qualifications in psychology, management, quality assurance, training and neuro-semantics, Sue’s unique approach is accessible, fun and builds capacity.

Sometimes life throws challenges at you. You are expected to carry on, unaffected. Based on over ten years of exploring the topic, Sue will share with five practical tools to enable you as a volunteer or team member to be more resilient and less affected by life’s challenges. Learn how to be flexible in your thinking styles and move towards the Unshakeable continuum.

*This breakout is for team members and volunteers.

11:50 – 12:00 Break

12:00 – 12:45 Visitor Centres in a COVID-19 World – New Zealand Case Study

Paul Yeo, Tourism New Zealand.

 Covid-19 has changed the way Visitor Centres operate: will they survive?

Paul is part of the New Zealand and Government Relations team for Tourism New Zealand and is based in Wellington. This team is responsible for Tourism New Zealand’s Destination Readiness strategic area of focus, with Paul responsible for Industry Relations engagement with key stakeholders. He is also responsible for quality partnerships including managing the i-SITE Network, the official national visitor information network that has almost 70 locations across New Zealand.

12:45 – 12:55 Close/Wrap up


Our event MC is Despina Karatzias. Despina is the very proud Chief Navigator of leading digital education platform for Australian small business Navii Digital and Tourism Tribe, where Australian tourism operators learn how to run, market and get the best out of a their small tourism business and convert them to smart tourism businesses.

Also known for her inspired training solutions, Despina has developed and delivered over one hundred programs covering everything from customer service excellence, effective product development, tourism, social media and digital marketing solutions, Despina is also the founder of the school for small business greatness, Institute of Excellence.

She is a Certified Trainer, qualified business coach, author and digital marketing professional with twenty years’ experience in the tourism industry.












Don’t miss the 2020 Visitor Information Services Summit



The VIS Summit has previously been delivered in partnership with the following host regions:

2019 – Holmesglen at Eildon (Murrindindi Shire)
2018 – Bendigo (Goldfields)
2017 – Bass Coast and Phillip Island
2016 – Shepparton (Murray)
2015 – Mornington & Frankston (Mornington Peninsula)
2014 – Lancefield (Daylesford and Macedon Ranges)
2013 – Lakes Entrance (East Gippsland)
2012 – Melbourne
2011 – Geelong (Great Ocean Road)
2010 – Warrnambool (Great Ocean Road)
2009 – Bendigo (Goldfields)
2008 – Marysville (Yarra Valley)
2007 – Murray (Swan Hill)
2006 – Halls Gap (Grampians)
2005 – Beechworth (Victoria’s High Country)
2004 – Lorne (Great Ocean Road)
2003 – Phillip Island
2002 – Shepparton (Murray)
2001 – Ballarat (Goldfields)