Travel summit reviews industry challenges

Taylar AmoniniAugusta Margaret River Times
Cape Leeuwin.
Camera IconCape Leeuwin. Credit: Tim Campbell

Collaboration, innovation and inspiration in food, wine and tourism was the focus as industry representatives converged on the Capes for the inaugural Experiental Travel Summit.

More than 120 delegates, 20 speakers and nine South West venues participated in the event to work on ways to “think outside the box” and attract new businesses to the region.

With a raft of guest speakers from the tourism, wine and event industries, the summit highlighted ways attendees can innovate their approach to marketing and developing customer experiences.

Panellists and delegates alike agreed that Western Australia’s reputation for being clean and its remoteness and spaciousness made it well-placed to capitalise on tourism once borders opened up.

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South West Development Commission manager of trade, tourism, innovation and creative industries, Mat Lewis, said the summit was designed using a human-centered approach.

“We knew we wanted to give local businesses a hands-on opportunity to experiment with early-stage risk taking and find better ways to use feedback as a co-design tool in a safe learning environment,” he said.

“Risk-taking is an essential part of growth, but obviously in the current climate, risks can be seen as non-essential when you’re just trying to keep doors open.

“What we do know now, more than ever before, is that those good at risk taking are generally more agile and able to respond quickly to new opportunities.

“We invited South West businesses to try a new idea or take a new approach to an old idea to provide an experience for delegates.”

The element of surprise and delight saw delegates split into five groups and taken to an unknown tourism experience that included champagne and sparkling wine tasting at Howard Park’s Wine Chapel, a cabernet tasting at Woodlands, a guided tour of Walk Talk Taste’s Gourmet Glamp luxe bush camp, Toasty Tastings by the Fire at Bettenay’s Wine and Nougat, and a Sustainable Living Farm Tour at One Table Farm.

On return to Vasse Felix, the conference’s main venue, delegates workshopped ideas of what those experiences could start, continue and stop doing to enhance the visitor experience.

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