“The guest experience has never been more important,” says Matthew Cameron-Smith, CEO at Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

Matthew Cameron-Smith
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia's CEO, Matthew Cameron-Smith, discusses, Tali Wiru, Indigenous training and employment across Australia, as well as experience-based vacations, the iconic Red Centre, and tourism facilities. Read more to learn more about eco-friendly, sustainable travel.

Life is not lived in the rearview mirror, you should use your eyes for vision rather than just for sight.

MEDIA 7: You are not new to the hotel industry. How does it feel to be back in the accommodation industry after working in destination marketing and guided tours for so long?
MATTHEW CAMERON-SMITH:
In a word, great! The tourism industry is the sum of its parts, and regardless of tour or hotel, it is all about focusing on giving the guest an amazing experience.


M7: Can you shed some light on the innovations you intend to implement or the change already in command by you at Voyages, with the strategy applied to it?
MCS:
We were very active over the COVID-19 lockdown periods, ensuring we improved and developed more experience for our guests. Over that period, we completed a full refurb of SID and a refresh of the DG's public areas. We also opened the Gallery of Central Australia, which is a celebration of Central Australia's desert art and supports the economic and cultural sustainability of 19 local art centers. 2022 also saw the celebration of ten years of Tali Wiru, our exclusive dune-top culinary experience showcasing native ingredients paired with fine Australian wines. Despite what COVID-19 threw at us, we remained focused on changing the lives of young indigenous people through education and training. We are celebrating over 600 graduates through the National Indigenous Training Academy, with 60 more to come on 22/23. These graduates now hold nationally recognized qualifications in horticulture, retail, or hospitality, and every grad is guaranteed a job with VITA. The Anangu Community Foundation continues to work with the community to drive social, economic, and well-being outcomes that are supported by much-needed donations from our guests.

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With the digitization of society, guests are better researched and better informed.



M7: What distinguishing features can the modern Voyages experience bring to conferences, events, and meetings?
MCS:
We offer a very unique, culturally immersive experience for the meetings industry. This could be an exclusive Sounds of Silence dinner under 50,000 stars or a private camel ride to view the sunset at Uluru. Delegates could even try their hand at learning the art of dot painting or hear stories from community leaders about the world's oldest living culture.


M7: How does the organization ensure that its clients have a hassle-free modern business travel experience with transparent spending?
MCS:
We have modernized the guest experience through the development of a guest mobile app so they can book tours, dining, and use maps to make their experience seamless.

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The tourism industry is vibrant, exciting, and resilient, so it’s not about a job, it’s about a career.



M7: With over two decades of experience, what is the paradigm shift you see in the hospitality industry today?
MCS:
The guest experience has never been more important — or should I say, a genuine experience has never been more important. With the digitization of society, guests are better researched and better informed, so you need to deliver on what you say you will.


M7: What are your top 3 suggestions for aspirants in the travel industry?
MCS:
Remember, our industry is vibrant, exciting, and resilient, so it’s not about a job, it’s about a career. Work hard – your guests expect it, and it will make you stand out from the pack. Be forward-facing. Life is not lived in the rearview mirror, and you should use your eyes for vision rather than just for sight.

ABOUT VOYAGES INDIGENOUS TOURISM AUSTRALIA

Voyage's commitment to the community-
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is owned by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and manages tourism and resorts on their behalf. The Tourism Company has a strong commitment to social responsibility and strives to give back and support the people and communities in their regions and throughout Australia. All profits from the business activity are used to support Indigenous training and employment. Voyages offer experience-based holidays in spectacular wilderness locations, including Ayers Rock Resort in the iconic Red Centre and tourism facilities in Mossman Gorge, located in tropical Queensland. Their goal is to offer getaways that people just can’t enjoy anywhere else: enriching experiences, incredible natural beauty, and a suite of activities and attractions that appeal to every traveler who’s seeking a new kind of adventure.
Voyage's philosophy-
Voyages are focused on providing guests with enriching, memorable experiences that they would not be able to enjoy anywhere else in Australia.They are committed to building and sustaining an Indigenous workforce through training, employment, and economic development. Also, they aim to train and develop more Indigenous staff, enabling them to secure employment in the hospitality industry across Australia. In turn, their guests enjoy a more "authentic" Indigenous Australian experience.

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