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Harnessing growth: How Moreton Bay businesses can recover from COVID

Posted: 5am 18 May 2022

Cementing a strong tourism brand will position the Moreton Bay Region for the 2032 Olympic Games and beyond, according to leading businesswoman Ann Sherry AO.

Ms Sherry, whose career spans roles as the chief executive officer of the Bank of Melbourne, Westpac and Carnival Australia, as well as being a director of Rugby Australia, chair of UNICEF Australia and non-executive director of Sydney Airport and National Australia Bank, will lead a fireside chat at the next Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) luncheon.

She plans to speak about harnessing growth for recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 and says there’s never been a better time to focus on the region’s assets and identity.

“You have to plan beyond the Games,” Ms Sherry says.

“The mistake most regions make is they plan for them and hope something happens after.

“That includes accommodation - the volume of accommodation for teams, for officials and then spectators is really substantial.”

Showcase the region

When she attended the Rio Olympics, Ms Sherry stayed at Copacabana, which hosted a handful of sports, including beach volleyball.

She says it was a joy to travel away from busy Olympic precincts around the city to the famed Copacabana beach and take a stroll at the end of each hectic day – and that the Moreton Bay Region should provide a similar refuge for visitors in 10 years’ time.

“I would be starting to show images of your sites north of Brisbane – imagine if this was an Olympic hotel, waking up in the morning with the sun shining on Moreton Bay.

“There’s only the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast (within reasonable travel distance of Brisbane).”

Ms Sherry says the captive sports-loving audience will have time on their hands between events – and that’s a great time to show off the region.

“You need to be thinking about what it is you do that’s part of your future positioning.”

What’s our story?

She says preparations must start now – beginning with the story we want to tell about what’s on offer locally.

“There are three really big things to consider.

“One, you need to be clear about what you want to be known for – you have to have a drawcard.

“It’s got to be something that you all talk about - everything else, you hang off the back.”

The second big thing, Ms Sherry says, is having destinations, experiences and products that people want to share with friends and family online.

“You have to have a product that people write online that they loved - whether it’s fishing, beaches, or great eating.

“You have to be disciplined about having good products, or you will end up with disappointed customers who never come back.

“It helps everyone lift their quality and lifts the number of customers coming in.”

Plenty of personality

Ms Sherry’s third big thing is defining Moreton Bay’s identity.

“There’s a discipline about what you want your personality to be.

“It should be contemporary, positive and reflect well on the locals as well.

“Then you get growth and economic stimulation.”

But Ms Sherry says recovery is not just about being top of mind as a tourist destination – we need a robust local economy underpinned by a diverse business community.

“Everyone’s talking about manufacturing – but why should those industries come to you, because in the end all of those industries are going to have 100 places to choose from,” she says.

“At the end of the day, people move to places because of something about the local community that they can see or that can be articulated.

“Is it jobs, is it education, is it that it’s near a train station?

“They’re really important conversations to be having.”

Get your tickets now

The event is proudly presented by Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism (MBRIT) and supported by our strategic partner, Moreton Bay Regional Council.

The luncheon is on June 17 at the Eatons Hill Hotel from noon.

Tickets are $130 plus booking fee. Book tickets here.

Read more local business news here.

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