In my humble opinion, these individuals are all so extraordinary in so many different ways and I’d love to salute them, my ‘top 5’ Aussie Icons of the Travel Industry…
1. Glen Moroney The boy from Newcastle, who started out running a humble bus tour company around parts of Australia. The company grew bigger and bigger and Glen is now the proud founder of Scenic Tours – world leaders in river cruising. Glen’s wife and design partner, Karen Moroney, is the driving force behind the ships’ stylish interiors and I’m so proud when I go overseas and see the level of luxury Scenic provides. This boy from OZ created all of this and we travellers are the happy recipients of his vision.
2. Alan Joyce This man has bucket loads of courage. He grew up in a small village in Dublin where his Mother was a cleaner and his Father worked in a tobacco factory, he now earns millions of dollars. He has turned QANTAS around posting huge profits – muti-millions of dollars. He stood up against people he disagreed with, he went against public opinion and has done things others never had guts to do. QANTAS has a remarkable national and international reputation and I’m proud to sing the praises of Alan Joyce.
3. Sarina Bratton our ‘First Lady of Cruising’. I met her many, many years ago when she was at the helm of Orion Expedition Cruises. She is the first female founder of a cruise line, former Business Woman of the Year and NSW Entrepreneur of the Year – it’s safe to say she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Something I’m very grateful to Serena and Orion for is that they take you into parts of the world, in a luxurious and comfortable manner, where many do not dare to go. I went to East Timor with Orion and in a small way, we were able to open up this community to world tourism. The flow on effect of tourism in places like that can be a beautiful, wonderful, positive thing and we have individuals like Serena to thank for this.
4. Bob Ansett – I’m saluting Bob for customer service. The Ansett name was made famous by Bob’s father with Ansett Australia (Airline) and Bob founded Budget Car Rental. Bob has given to the Australian business market, and certainly the hospitality and travel industry, the gift of customer service as a form of business. He was the first introduce customer feedback and the importance of customers service. Many successful business people I speak to today have him to thank for teaching them about finessing customer service, putting the customer first, that was his vision and he deserves praise for that.
5. David Lyle. The father of lifestyle TV. We have him to thank for creating shows like Getaway, which has been around for 25 years! He had faith in the travel concept and not a lot of people are aware it took just one man’s vision to bring it to life. He stood up to Kerry Packer who at the time said “you’ll run out of places to go to, this show has no legs”, then, of course, it went on to be one of Kerry’s favourite programs! So kudos to David Lyle and his original vision which is still enjoyed today.