MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
OUR BURDENS ARE LIFTING
VACCINES are rolling out… travel bubbles are on the horizon – hopeful murmurs that Australians will be able to travel again by 2022.
Keeping the optimistic thread, the Board has been busy planning the Tweed convention, discussing the Awards for Excellence 2021, working on admin and systems with our assiduous Secretariat, and organising lunches with the tireless support of our excellent committees.
I want to offer a special note of thanks to Mike Smith, Justine Costigan and Peter Hook, who are stepping down from the Awards Committee after a year of constant commitment, effort and teamwork.
Stay safe everyone, managing wild weather and floods. Our thoughts are with you.
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” – Michelle Obama
ASTW 2021 CONVENTION
GETTING FAMILIAR WITH THE TWEED
PRE- and post-convention media familiarisations for the 2021 ASTW AGM and Convention in the Tweed, NSW, will bring the people, places, stories and experiences of this stunning region to life. Here’s a small taste of the experiences that await to whet the appetite and get you thinking about your preferences.
Hand-to-heart: Taste our local provenance
Visit our growers, brewers, roasters and distillers, creating distinctive flavours made with love by hand and from the ground up (think crop-to-cup, paddock-to-bottle, farm-to-plate, hops-to-sips, cane-to-rum).
Immersive arts and inspiring makers
Be inspired by our creative culture and community. Take a class, meet artists, peruse galleries and visit studios.
Step back in time
Unearth the incredible history of the Tweed from Indigenous stories and Gondwana-era rainforests to art deco streets and the dramatic collapse of an ancient shield volcano.
Savour our coastal flavours
Breathe in the sea air and taste the bounty found in our coastal towns – from harvested pipis and local oysters to nationally awarded restaurants, celebrity chefs and headline bakehouses.
Put your video and photographic skills to work with a local guide to discover the Tweed’s most photogenic natural landscapes, from coast to country.
Catch a wave
Train like a pro (where Australia’s Olympic surfers get prepped), learn to catch a wave at Australia’s best beach and cruise the coastline from surf break to boutique sleeps.
Meet our country characters
Take a hinterland drive to meet the folk forging our inland experiences – from boutique stays and farms to iconic dining, village vibes, inspiring artisans and more.
Salt water to fresh flow
Dive in for aquatic adventures unique to the Tweed from close encounters with the big three of the sea (whales, dolphins and turtles) to kayak trails that glide alongside millennia-old stands of rainforest.
Get a bird’s-eye view
Traverse a coastal staircase, take to the sky on a scenic journey and hike to a stunning lookout atop the edge of an ancient volcanic rim to see the Tweed from on high.
Treat the tribe to the Tweed
Experience a laid-back family beach holiday with a Tweed hamlet hop, taking in award-winning holiday parks, comfy glamping and spacious beach view apartments, plus lots of fun for the whole gang.
– LOUISE TERRY
AGM AND CONVENTION DATES: October 14-16, 2021
HOST: The Tweed Tourism Co.
HOST RESORT: Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff
WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES
HERE are your 2021 ASTW committee members and their responsibilities:
Memberships committee – Shirley Sinclair, Caroline Gladstone, Jocelyn Pride and Kerri McConnel.
Sponsorships committee – Scott Podmore and Pip Macken.
Grants committee – Elisa Elwin.
Training and development committee – Kerri McConnel, Christina Butcher, Shirley Sinclair.
Convention committee – Pip Macken and Janaya Birse.
Awards – Jocelyn Pride, Christina Pfeiffer, Caroline Gladstone and Kerri McConnel.
Governance committee – Christina Pfeiffer and Kerri McConnel.
Lunches – Board lunch manager Elisa Elwin; national and Sydney lunch coordinator Laura Speirs; Brisbane lunch coordinators Sue Fuller and Kerry Heaney; Melbourne lunch coordinator Belinda Jackson; Adelaide lunch coordinator Alexis Buxton Collins; Western Australia lunch coordinator Dianne Bortoletto.
Sustainability committee – Jocelyn Pride and committee members Louise Southerden, Justine Costigan and Sarah Reid.
Ethics Committee – Lee Mylne, Sarah Anderson, John Borthwick, John Maddocks, Shelley Winkel.
Working Groups – International Liaison Elisa Elwin and Danielle Lancaster.
FB group moderators – Christina Pfeiffer, Elisa Elwin, Kerri McConnel.
PR releases and comms – Pip Macken and Janaya Birse.
Newsletters – Shirley Sinclair and Caroline Gladstone.
Social Media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook pages, Twitter) – Christina Butcher.
Webmaster – Christina Pfeiffer.
If you are interested in joining a committee, please contact a board member or email firstname.lastname@example.org
OUT OF LOCKDOWN
THE first ASTW luncheon for Victoria was a great excuse to get out of lockdown garb and into our finery. Afternoon tea at The Windsor is a Melbourne institution – a place of celebration, an historical snapshot, a bucket lister.
With a great turn-out of 26 members and two guests, we were welcomed by marketing manager Caryn Ng who, together with The Windsor team, treated us all to the most decadent of luncheons. French bubbles, teared silver stands filled with the most intricate of savouries and sweets, a tea menu the length of a novel, buzzy conversation… it felt like the COVID-19 curtain was finally lifting.
A highlight was the address by the recently appointed executive pastry chef Felix Goodwin who gave a detailed overview of the menu – a fusion of tradition and innovation. Felix’s interest in native Australian ingredients, combined with culinary background in Asian influences, is the basis of his creativity. It was particularly poignant to hear him speak openly about his personal challenge of being celiac, therefore unable to taste most of what he prepares.
Thank you to Belle Jackson for organising such a wonderful event (and sadly missed it, due to a travel gig), and to all the staff at The Windsor for a blissful afternoon of escapism.
– JOCELYN PRIDE
ASTW lunches are beginning to break free from the shackles of COVID-19 restrictions with dates for gatherings starting to appear nationally.May is looking much brighter for get-togethers overall so keep an eye on your emails and the ASTW website. March 11 saw Victorian members gather at the Windsor Hotel for a special High Tea. Little Creatures Harbourside Lunch and Brewery Tasting hosted the West Australian contingent on March 19.And this weekend, Queensland members are shining up their boots and scootin’ towards the Granite Belt for the ASTW Brisbane Lunch (plus coach with one-night Granite Belt famil option) this weekend, March 27-28.Ballandean Estate Wines is hosting the Saturday lunch, with overnight famil and coach pick-up option including accommodation at Girraween Environmental Lodge. Others are heading west under their own steam and extending their stay to discover the charms of Stanthorpe and beyond for themselves. It promises to be a hoot.
AS RECENTLY indicated on the ASTW Members’ Facebook page, the Board acknowledged the suggestion that extra finalists might be added to the already-published list of 2020 award finalists. It considered that proposition at its March 9 meeting.
This suggestion had been made by several ASTW members following the Board’s announcement, in the February 2021 newsletter, that after a further review of the 2020 awards, an amendment was made to the Family Travel award category, which resulted in Mark Daffey being named a joint winner.
However, after careful consideration, the Board voted not to add any more finalists to the list. In all categories in 2020, the judges chose a winner or joint winners, a runner-up or joint runners-up, as well as three to five finalists. The Board is satisfied that all those deserving of a finalist position have been named.
As this matter is now closed, we look towards the future.
We would like to acknowledge the incredible work of the 2020 Awards Committee comprising Peter Hook, Elisa Elwin Justine Costigan and Mike Smith, who toiled tirelessly to enable our Awards for Excellence to take place in 2020 – a particularly challenging year for the travel industry. The 2020 Awards Committee processed more than 600 entries, while navigating through Awards Force, a new software program specifically designed for the management of awards. After laying a solid foundation, the 2020 Awards Committee has decided to step down and pass its expertise on to the next group. Thank you, Peter, Elisa, Justine and Mike.
The 2021 Awards Committee will be headed by Jocelyn Pride, who’ll be assisted by Christina Pfeiffer, Caroline Gladstone and Kerri McConnel. This is a voluntary role and as committee members, they will not be permitted to enter the ASTW Awards of Excellence. Together with the Secretariat, this committee will administer and oversee the next round of awards.
Given the current climate of the travel industry, we are looking for input as to how the next ASTW Awards of Excellence might look. To help us gauge members’ thoughts, a survey will be sent out shortly. Please keep an eye on your inbox.
THE ASTW Board understands the challenges members have faced in all areas of the tourism and travel industry following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has affected our ability to travel, caused the closure of media outlets and greatly reduced travel pages, devastated business bottom lines and affected employment and our physical well-being. To allay any fears about ASTW membership eligibility, the Board will uphold an earlier suggestion to allow substantiation requirements across a two-year period from May 1, 2019, to April 30, 2021. The same substantiation rules outlined on the ASTW website will apply; only the time-frame changes.
All writing and photography work published during these dates will be accepted; this also applies to all PR contracts and arrangements. Substantiation will open on April 1 and members have until April 30 to complete it.
THIS is a reminder to all in the ASTW to keep their communication with members – be they Board members or not – respectful and kind at all times. That includes all Social Media posts and emails to colleagues and Board members. Please address all communication with the Board to the Secretariat at: email@example.com
Emails or posts that are aggressive, intimidating or otherwise disrespectful will simply not be answered. We acknowledge that almost all Society members do communicate respectfully and abide by the ASTW’s Code of Ethics. However, from time to time lapses occur.
The Board is working on a Complaints Procedure. It will be uploaded onto the website in coming months. The idea is to have a formal process that can be followed and a timeline for action. Now we certainly don’t want to see an increase in complaints! However, it is important to have a process to follow.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
FREELANCE travel writer and content creator Nadine Cresswell-Myatt has applied for writer membership of the ASTW.
The Melbourne-based freelance travel writer has written travel stories for more than 20 years – about culinary tourism, cultural travel, female solo travel and boomer travel – and goes by the nom de plume of Red Bag Will Travel. Her membership is subject to the 30-day objection period and which will expire on April 24.
Any objections to new member applications must be sent to the ASTW Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org. Louise Terry, Jessica Palmer and Chrissie McClatchie have all passed their 30-day objection period and are now official members. Welcome!
THE GREAT 2021 MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
WE all enjoy sharing our love of the travel and tourism industry, so why not ask more friends to party with us at the ASTW?
The Board has begun a membership drive after COVID-19 dealt our industry a savage blow, forcing many of our colleagues to find employment elsewhere. Consequently, some have had to change their membership category or say farewell to the ASTW altogether. So, we’re prompting all members to “ask a friend” – like-minded travel writers, photographers, PR representatives and digital publishers – to consider the many benefits of Australia’s most highly-respected organisation for travel media.
Maybe you’ve come across them on social media, met them on a famil or seen their by-line in your favourite travel mag. Ask them to head to the website at Australian Society of Travel Writers – travel media and public relations professionals and go to the Join Us tab at the top to see if they qualify to apply and discover all the Member Benefits here: Member Benefits – Australian Society of Travel Writers (astw.org.au).
From April 1, the Board also will be launching the “We Want You Back” campaign: any former ASTW members can rejoin the society for no joining fee.
The ASTW acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.