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Ellie Tonkin, Young Tourism Leader

Currently I work for Bundaberg North Burnett
Regional Tourism Organisation which is an amazing job. I am the destination marketing and events
specialist so I look after the marketing campaigns, I work on regional events, both marketing
a number of them and helping with audience development, I work with my team on publicity
– we have a lot of famils coming through the region – and we work with our incredible
members, our operators, who make Bundaberg and the North Burnett region what it is. I love working in tourism for a couple of
reasons. I love how exciting it is. I love how I can have my entire week planned
out and I get one email on a Monday morning and everything changes because we’ve got these
incredible opportunities like international journalists who are suddenly going to come
through, other things that that just turn up. I love the fact that our entire region is
brought together by tourism and we’ve got these incredible people who work hard together
and they get the big picture because they want people to come and witness and experience
what we get to live every day which are things like this incredible reef because Bundaberg
is situated on the southern Great Barrier Reef, we have in Bundaberg the largest endangered
turtle loggerhead turtle rookery in the southern hemisphere, we have incredible food and these
are things that we get to experience on a day-to-day basis and we’re sharing them with
the world and the world is really interested. That’s exciting, that makes me really happy
and that’s what gets me up in the morning. I grew up around tourism so, for me, moving
into the tourism industry was natural. I originally actually trained in events in
the arts so I was running large community festivals and I sort of fell into the regional
tourism organisation up in Rockhampton and I was able to take what I had learnt from
my events career and help regional events in the Capricorn region to develop their audiences
and to work on packaging and to work with the tourism organisation to really position
the area as an events destination and as a fun place to visit. My husband was transferred to Bundaberg at
the beginning of this year and I have the opportunity to do what I’m doing now which
is work with the Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism Organisation in marketing ourselves. Working in tourism, and particularly working
in tourism in regional Queensland, has given me some incredible opportunities. Because we are small organisations, small
regional tourism organisations, small operators, tourism operators and accommodation houses,
you have to multitask. You have to develop a lot of skills in a lot
of different areas and you have to be really, really good at them so regional tourism pushes
you and it pushes you hard but it opens up opportunities to try things and to go places
and to experience things that I don’t think you would in larger cities. Advice for young people looking for careers
in tourism, I say do it. Have fun. There are so many different things that you
can do in tourism. You can work with an operator, you can run
a tour company, you can work in hotels or you can work in marketing. The thing about tourism is that your career
is only limited by your own imagination and by the networks that you make. So, go out, meet people, have fun, and do
whatever makes you happy and makes you passionate about getting out of bed every day because
that will sustain you long term in a career in tourism.

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