WITIA Works June 2022

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From the Presidents Desk

You will notice that this month’s WITIA Works is an abbreviated newsletter. WITIA life member, Beverley Auerbach has recently resigned from her role as WITIA works newsletter editor. I would like to thank Beverley on behalf of the Board and WITIA members, for all of her support of our organisation and for the many volunteer hours she has provided compiling and editing her very informative newsletters for all but one year of WITIA’s history. 

Beverley has left some very big shoes to fill, however I am hopeful that one of our members will take on the challenge of editing our bi-monthly WITIA Works newsletter.  Please contact me if you are interested in taking on this volunteer role. Training and guidance will be provided. 

Unfortunately we did not receive enough registrations for the 2022 Vietnam educational by the deposit deadline, therefore we have had cancel the tour. I am also disappointed to announce that Educational host Varini DeSilva has decided to withdraw her Vietnam Educational bid. The WITIA Educational committee will be meeting in July to discuss calling for member submissions for FAMs / Educationals in 2023 and 2024.

Please save the date and plan to attend WITIA’s Annual General Meeting, via Zoom on Friday, 16 September / Saturday 17 September 2020 (time and date dependent on your time zone). This meeting addresses the important business of our Alliance. WITIA members will receive an email with all the details in August. We encourage you to volunteer for place on the Board or on one of the Committees. As an all-volunteer organization, we need your help for the Alliance to move forward and grow.

This month’s Hand of Friendship online member zoom session was held on the 09/10 June. Thank you to Cindy Passannante, WITIA’s Director of Marketing Americas who co-ordinated an “international tea party”. This meeting was a lot of fun, as participants introduced their favourite tea and sweet treat.

Our next Hand of Friendship zoom session is scheduled for 14/ 15 July. Zoom link and meeting details will be emailed to members one week prior. Virtual FAM presentations are a feature of our Hand of Friendship Zoom meetings. I encourage you to take the opportunity to promote your business or your expertise. Presentations can be up to 15 minutes in duration and should concentrate on the member’s tourism products or a country/region /city of interest. Please contact me for further details.

Warmest regards, Leah


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Member Spotlight

Carmel Thompson

WITIA Director of Professional Development

Most of the 60 years of my working life were spent initially in the Fashion Industry and then moving on to Business positions and finally working in the vocational education and training industry where I set up and ran my own English Language and Business College for both Australian and International Students in Brisbane, Australia. 

I left school at 14 but continued along a path of lifelong learning where I actually completed a Ph.D. program (Doctor of Philosophy in Education) in 2019.  I went to night school at 14 and did a four-year course at East Sydney Technical College, on graduation I went overseas to the UK and Europe for 2 years where I worked in the fashion industry.  When I got married at 23 years of age my husband who was an Army Captain was transferred to Papua New Guinea where we stayed for 7 years and I continued to design and make clothes for the local residents and military personnel.  A captive business as in the late 1960’s there were no dress shops in Port Moresby, just Chinese trade stores.

In later years I continued my studies at university and completed my Masters of Business as well as studies to become a CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant).   Then in 2016, I was granted a scholarship to undertake a Doctorate Program by a university in Canterbury, UK, which I successfully completed in 2019.   I guess now I will be able to have “Dr Carmel Thompson” on my tombstone!  

I love to travel (why I joined WITIA), people, and different cultures.  I am a very positive person and remember my father telling me as a young child “You can do anything you want to – just try”.  I must have listened to him as I have always felt that if someone else can do something then so can I.  I am a GEMINI and can’t stay idle for long.  Once I have mastered something to my satisfaction then I move on to the next task.

Some Fun Facts about Me!


I make sure I don’t have much free time.  I go to the gym two or three times per week, I am writing a book and I am on four international organizational boards and two Australian boards so it keeps me busy.


Yes, I went to Hawaii in March as soon as Australia opened its border for overseas travel.  It was my 111th trip to Hawaii.  I have been dropping in there to relax, since my early days of travel when I went to work in Canada in the early 1960s.  Also, it was my drop-off point to unwind as I did my consultancy projects when I worked in vocational training in South America, Trinidad/Tobago, and the United States.  I love Waikiki Beach, the shopping, the local people, and the numerous restaurants and bars where only the locals go.  It is my second home.


  1. Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine.  The world is very short on leadership at this time and he has truly shown he is a leader to his people and the world.  He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize this year!
  2. John F Kennedy – He was another great leader and a great orator.  He was a man ahead of his time.
  3. Mother Theresa – She helped so many people who were desperate and had no one else to care for them.


I haven’t read too many books lately as I am trying to write my own book and I have to get it finished by September.  It is a memoir and is called HICCUP (How I Can Cope Under Pressure).  There are 17 Chapters and I have completed 10 Chapters and sent them to my editor.

I do like to watch TV at night – Mainly Crime Shows or Current Affair Programs.  I particularly follow the Turkish News on Foxtel or the BCC for updates on Ukraine.


My goal this year is to finish my book, publish and launch it by the end of the year.



By Carmel Thompson

WITIA Director of Professional Development


Have you gone onto our new website recently at www.witia.net?  You will notice quite a number of changes.  Wait until you need to renew your membership.  It is now so simple and easy to complete.

The Executive Committee of WITIA has asked me to write something on “BLOGS” for the next edition of WITIA Works. They would like the membership to communicate, share and learn from each other through our website.  Apparently, this is the way to go.  A bit of a challenge for me as I know very little about social media, but I am willing to learn.

It is a different world we live in today and it is indeed global.  After all, we are all in the international marketplace promoting travel and local experiences, sharing our different cultures and the way we live.  In this way we can all learn from each other.  Globalisation is the business of our membership and there are so many opportunities available at the present time if we can just share ideas and take advantage of them.

Oops, it appears my introductory paragraphs above are a simple Blogg!!  This may not be as difficult as I thought.


(Definition from this link at Hubspot – https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/beginner-blogger-mistakes).

Simply put, a blog is a tool that can help develop an online presence, attract leads, and engage with an audience. It’s often a series of editorial content centered around a central topic that demonstrates industry expertise.

Blogs can help drive traffic to your website, convert that traffic into leads, establish authority in your industry, and grow your business

The link to HubSpot is a great learning tool and easy to follow.  If you want to have a go at blogging then click on the link https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/beginner-blogger-mistakes and read through the editorial which covers:  What is a Blog, Blogging Tips for Beginners and Blog Post Mistakes to Avoid. 

I found I had to read the editorial two or three times and I highlighted the mistakes I thought I would be likely to make.  I suggest you do the same.  Just keep it simple.  I am going to place my blog up on the WITIA Website shortly.  I hope I get someone to reply.   It would be fun to learn from other members who know more than I do about a city I want to visit or an airline company I want to book on.  I love learning new things!


Uploading Member offers and Member articles to WITIA website

To demonstrate how easy it is, we have used Carmel’s previous article about Blog writing to illustrate.

  1. Log-In
  2. Click on News and choose Article or Offer to Submit
  3. Follow the details (Watch the video)
  4. Add Title, Upload image, and add content
  5. Submit

The article was ready to cut and paste straight in, but you can type it straight in to the text box if you prefer.

The Video link is here or read online

Cancellation of Vietnam Educational

In late May, due to a lack of tour registrants and the current world climate, the 2022 Vietnam Educational was unfortunately postponed yet again.   

However it is with regret, that we advise Varini DeSilva from Ceylon Express International is no longer able to host this tour, which has now forced its cancellation. The WITIA Board would like to thank Varini for all of her hard work she has put into organising the Educational, over the past three years.  

We will advise our members as soon as we have some future plans for WITIA FAMs in 2023 and Educational in 2024.

AGM – Save the date

WITIA’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Saturday 17 September at 7.00 am (Brisbane, Australia) time. The meeting will be held virtually via zoom.

The positions vacant will be President; Vice President; Secretary; Director of Communications; Director of Marketing Americas; Director of Marketing Australasia; Director of Marketing Europe & Middle East.

We also would love enquiries from members to assist with social media and newsletters.  

Meeting links and all details will be emailed to members in August 2022.

Carolyn Little

Executive Secretary

Member News


WITIA members from Australia, Jill and Geoff Schurmann joined WITIA members Bart Lynn and Peter Kerr of Gourmet Wine Getaways on their inaugural GWG @ Sea tour to Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico for wine tasting in late May.

WITIA Members and Friends Visit Sydney During Vivid!

WITIA Members and Friends visit Sydney
WITIA President Leah Gage, through her company In2 Travel Australia, invited some WITIA members and friends to meet in Sydney to enjoy the Vivid Light spectacular. Read more.
WITIA Members and Friends visit Sydney
WITIA President Leah Gage, through her company In2 Travel Australia, invited some WITIA members and friends to meet in Sydney to enjoy the Vivid Light spectacular. Read more.

To view the Video collage use this link or read online click the link below

Vale Neil Dorrell

Last month my husband, Neil, lost his lengthy fight with end-stage renal failure and dialysis and passed away. During our 56 years of marriage we travelled to many countries and through the strength of networking, friendship and fellowship, we became active members of WITIA. In 2006 we met with the Hawaiian members on the Gold Coast, in 2010 attended the memorable Viterbo Educational in Italy, and in 2014 travelled to the Sri Lanka Educational. Neil valued the opportunities presented by being part of the WITIA family, both within and outside of Australia, and it is the strong bond of friendship and support that I treasure at this very sad time. Thank you.

Kay Dorrell Financial Controller

Gold Coast -Australia – Bakes Record breaking Vanilla Slice for Cancer Charity

Who hasn’t had their life or their family or friends lives affected by Cancer? Here on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, several WITIA members joined this fun-filled fabulous morning to raise funds for the Cancer Council Queensland. Every single pastry, coffee, fruit, decoration, etc etc and hours of organisation and services were donated free by the local communities and the amount of A$6700 was raised on the day, with donations still coming in. Huge THANK YOU to everyone for their support and especially to former WITIA member Lou McGregor of Finding Yellow Co and daughter of Life Member and one of the founders of WITIA, Beryl Ley.

Many thanks also to Bianca Holgate , from ESPL Coffee Surfers Paradise for the donation of the amazing Vanilla Slice.

Hand of Friendship


Reach out and talk to other members, discuss ideas to help your business or personal life during the current crisis & meet your network!

Hand of Friendship” Zoom session

WITIA has held many successful virtual member meetings since April 2020. Details and Zoom meeting links are emailed to members a week prior to the sessions, and reminders are posted on WITIA’s Members Only Facebook page. If you are not receiving the emails with the meeting link, please email secretary@witia.org or info@witia.org.

What’s New: WITIA is offering our members the opportunity to give a FAM presentation during selected Zoom meetings. Presentations can be up to 15 minutes in duration and should be about a member’s tourism products or a country/ region /city of interest. Members who are interested in participating should contact President Leah Gage president@witia.org for further details. These meetings are a member benefit and restricted to financial members.


 “Hand of Friendship” Zoom sessions for 2022

JUL 14/15 | AUG 11/12 | SEP 0/09 | OCT 13/14 | NOV 10/11 | DEC 08/09

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