The team behind Emergence in Margaret River to host inaugural Experiential Travel Summit

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The team behind Emergence in Margaret River to host inaugural Experiential Travel Summit

The inaugural Experiential Travel Summit (ETS), a new conference that mixes experience and education held in Margaret River on 13 and 14 June, will foster collaboration and co-design of more meaningful experiences that capture the hearts and minds of travellers.


ETS is an out of the box wine, food and tourism event set to bring innovation, agility and new ways of thinking to wine, food and travel experiences.

Powered by Creative Corner, the team behind Emergence Creative Festival, in partnership with Wine Australia, Wines of Western Australia, Australia’s South West and the South West Development Commission, ETS is created for professionals and business owners working in marketing, communication, customer experience, business operations and content creation in the wine, food, hospitality and tourism industries.

South West Development Commission Manager Trade, Tourism, Innovation & Creative Industries, Mat Lewis, says the evolution of tourism experiences was the catalyst for ETS.

“When it comes to wine as a centre piece around travel or being an element that makes up regional experiences, there’s been a shift, and we’ve seen a greater diversity in wine experiences,” Lewis says.

“ETS was created to support and elevate businesses to go beyond delivering an experience, we want to help travellers make it part of their story.

“Wine is more than an industry, it’s also a lifestyle and a community, overlapping and complementing other industries including tourism, food, education, hospitality, agriculture and environment.

“As the world re-emerges and the tourism industry re-opens, there’s never been a more important time to invest in our future, together as an industry, by taking a closer look at the evolution of tourism experiences.

“Travellers are wanting a deeper connection on a level that’s more meaningful, more immersive, and that theme has been central to the development of the ETS program,” Lewis said.

At ETS, attendees can expect practical workshops, skills development opportunities, and exposure to unexpected thinking to push people out of their comfort zone and help the industry move from strength to strength.

The program is designed with speakers and workshops that get straight to the point, addressing common challenges, pain points and mapping unexpected solutions.

When it comes to tourism experiences, few are more renowned than MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart.

MONA Co-CEO Mark Wilsdon (pictured right) joins ETS to impart some of his learnings over a career spanning 30 years in the tourism and hospitality sectors. His expertise includes business strategy, product development, destination management, marketing and visitor experience.

Drawn to the excitement of David Walsh’s vision for MONA, Wilsdon began as a consultant in 2002, and since then, has been employed as MONA’s Hospitality Operations Manager, Executive Business Manager and in 2016, he was appointed Co–CEO of the MONA group, charged with establishing and sustaining a major cultural tourism destination. His original chef’s training led him to work in some of Europe’s leading restaurants, and back in Tasmania, he has owned and operated several successful restaurants. Wilsdon is a Director of Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia, Director of The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania (TICT), Director of The Unconformity Festival, and a member of the Tasmanian government’s Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Advisory Committee.

Wilsdon says that creativity plays a critical role in providing memorable experiences for visitors.

“Creativity is particularly relevant for wine tourism where businesses are looking to differentiate, both individually and regionally,” Wilson says.

“Tourists are looking to fully immerse themselves in the local environment and the culture of a destination, and I think Margaret River has this in spades.

“The Experiential Tourism Summit will be an opportunity to immerse myself in the region and discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with being an isolated yet sought-after destination.

“Coming from Tassie in winter I’m looking forward to the beautiful coastline, great food and wine and some warmer air.”

Sometimes, stepping away from the ordinary is all it takes to uncover new ideas. ETS has engaged the ultimate idea provocateurs Skills of the Modern Age (SOMA), to lead delegates to ask questions from fresh perspectives.

“ETS is a rare opportunity to come together for an immersive exploration into finding solutions for common challenges across the tourism, wine and hospitality sectors,” said Nate Sturke, Founder of SOMA.

“Sessions will delve into new concepts like empathy mapping, design thinking and rapid prototyping.”

A keynote presentation will be made by Simon Lamplough (pictured left), Managing Director at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, who believes that creativity is always the answer. Lamplough has played a key role in transforming the agency from a traditional advertising-model to an integrated and progressive agency structure that’s won international recognition and won so much new business that it’s doubled in size.

Tailored specifically for the wine, food and tourism sectors, ETS is a complementary conference to the preceding Emergence Creative Festival ‘anti-conference’ held in Margaret River 9 to 11 June.

The Experiential Travel Summit (ETS) will be held 13 and 14 June at various wineries in the Margaret River region, in Western Australia’s south west.

Tickets to ETS are on sale from Friday 16 April. For more information, visit