As Queensland’s leading tourism industry forum, Destination Q, the one-day free event provides a platform for learning, networking and collaboration, and is where government and industry players engage with one another to share new insights, research, and best practices solutions.

This year’s Destination Q forum was held on 9 November in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, an excellent venue with great ambience for networking. The event attracted a large number of representatives from tourism and hospitality peak bodies, operators and academics. Several members of the Griffith Institute for Tourism and the Department of Tourism, Sport, and Hotel Management attended the event, including Dr Sarah Gardiner, Dr Xin Jin, Dr Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore, Dr Caroline Riot, and Dr Ying Wang. Several students from the department including our PhD candidate Laura Lesar were also present at the forum, some as volunteers to assist with the event.

The event opened with a welcome speech by the Hon. Kate Jones MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, followed by a series of keynote speeches, industry presentations, and panel discussions by local and international speakers. The tourism minister’s welcome speech praised Queensland’s achievement as a destination and announced a number of areas of new investment such as the event sector and the Great Barrier Reef. One key message from the forum is the need for the destination and business to understand the concept of experience economy and to focus on experience design. This is also very relevant to small tourism business. Collaboration was highlighted as another key to success and competitiveness for small businesses. Some of the presentations emphasised the critical role of technology in experience creation and delivery. Another message arising out from the forum is the need to anticipate changes and have ability to adapt. There was also a two-hour collaboration session in the afternoon where attendees participated in in-depth group discussion on how tourism businesses can deepen their connections with destination experiences.

Our discussions with attendees during the networking breaks point to the need for concreate examples of actual collaborations between academic research and industry practice at future forums. We hope there will be room for academic speakers in the future, particularly those who have worked with the industry.