Tourism volunteering

Support Queensland's cultural well-being



Travellers, new and experienced volunteers can find out about upcoming volunteering opportunities in tourism destinations or their local tourism industry.

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Tourism volunteering stories

Townsville Enterprise

Townsville’s Conlan family could easily be described as the definitive example of what it is to volunteer.

Story submitted by Brett Judge, Corporate Communications Executive, Townsville Enterprise Limited

Les and Dawn Conlan along with their daughter Sandra Conlan and grandson Karl have been volunteering with the Townsville Enterprise Visitor Information Centres for a combined total of more than 50 years.

Les and Dawn joined the volunteering program in February 1991, after the death of their son. Dawn’s cousin was working in the program and convinced the couple to volunteer their time for a few hours a fortnight to “get them out of the house and back on their feet”.

The couple enjoyed their regular outings and convinced their daughter Sandra to join in March 1992. Sandra’s son Karl kept the family tradition going and began volunteering when he was 8 years old.

The Conlan family has dedicated a substantial portion of their time towards promoting the Townsville and North Queensland region. Not only does the family team volunteer their time at Townsville’s Visitor Information Centres, they also volunteer for the Heart Foundation and Guide Dogs Australia. The main duties carried out at the Visitor Information Centres include; providing an accurate and comprehensive information service for visitors, giving directions and advice for things to do and see while in Townsville. The overall goal for these centres is to encourage longer stay of visitors and encourage them to return.

Throughout the years the Conlan’s have been invaluable assistance to Townsville Enterprise. They have not only worked in the Visitor Information Centres but have assisted Townsville Enterprise, with administration, filing, photocopying, correspondence and brochure packing activities. They have even taken work home to do in the evenings.

No job is too small or too large - whether organising and cleaning out storage cupboards, sorting through old stock and filing or updating all the spreadsheets for visitor statistics for the region, from Mission beach, Charters Towers, Bowen and Magnetic Island to help Tourism Queensland to total how many overseas, local and domestic visitors come to Queensland each year.

The Conlan’s service to the community and passion for Townsville is further evident in light of Les’s vision impairment and failing health. The family continues to volunteer their time each fortnight to man the Mall Visitor Information Centre. With Dawn and Sandra at the helm the Conlan’s are a formidable source of local information and an invaluable asset to Townsville Enterprise team.

Dirt n Dust Festival

In 2010, over 200 volunteers took part in the Dirt n Dust Festival, not bad for a small town population of 1,200, these volunteers came from Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville, but the majority came from Julia Creek.

Story submitted by Margie Ryder, Event Manager, Dirt n Dust Festival

We recognised our volunteers by having ‘Planning Nights’ where we got input from them in regards to their ideas, in addition to having novelty prizes to keep them enthusiastic. On a continued basis we promote the success of the event on the amount of work done by volunteers.

We believe the volunteers are the reason for the success of winning the prestigious award for the Best Festival event at the Queensland Tourism Awards and receiving highly commended at the Australian Tourism Awards.

We try to always provide positive experiences for our volunteers and reward them by supplying a volunteer uniform and celebration BBQ, in addition to publically promoting their worth at all times.

Many volunteers live and work in the region and are able to represent a broad section of the community including children and youth; land and environment; commercial business; education; rural and agriculture; and sport and recreation.

The many facets of the event are designated as portfolios to various committee members. Delegation of roles and responsibility ensures consistent, knowledgeable and efficient responses can be provided to suppliers and potential customers.

Other examples of involving our volunteers include:

  • Invitations to attend planning meetings and provide input
  • Other community groups and charitable organisations welcomed to join the Festival
  • Promote the value of the event in relation to social interaction and professional development
  • Create and contribute to a positive environment for volunteers through training
  • Appropriate recognition of volunteers through sponsorship of uniforms and name badges
  • Involvement in post event debrief
  • Maintain a focus of community engagement and ownership throughout the year

The Dirt n Dust Festival secured $79,855 from the Queensland Government’s Blueprint for the Bush program for an “Our Place Our Future” two year training initiative

The program was named BULLBrilliant Useful Lifetime Learning and was achieved by attending the COWCommunity Opportunity Workshops. 75 local residents took part in the program which has already created significant benefits, such as:

  • Expanded leadership base
  • Positive opportunities for the young and the mothers in the community to learn additional skills that provide a sense of worth and contribution
  • Community that is proactive not reactive
  • More effective community organisations
  • Increased skills, increased professionalism, greater retention of skilled workers, increased local capacity, pathways for future employment, stronger more sustainable community with strong skills bank