Tourism and marketing manager for The Great Lakes and competitive athlete.
Richard Old takes us for a ride through his double life.
Time spent living in the Great Lakes:
I’ve been living in paradise for six years! Prior to permanently moving to the Great Lakes, I’d visit for annual holidays with my family in the ‘80s and participate in the Ironman series in the ‘90s. I think I harboured a childhood dream to live here and not keep leaving after a few tantalising weeks!
Manager of Tourism and Marketing for Great Lakes Tourism. Special Events Lecturer Mid Coast TAFE.
Beyond my family, my passion is anything outdoors – especially adventure racing and triathlon. There is a great bunch of locals who share my love of the outdoors and also introduced me to mountain biking. The Forster Triathlon Club is a fantastic outfit and gets like-minded, lactic acid junkies together to train and compete in events … I also have a huge music collection, and nothing surpasses seeing a good film on the big screen.
How would you describe the industry you are in?
Challenging, stimulating, demanding and rewarding. My charter is to promote and market the Great Lakes. This includes juggling a mix of elements such as marketing, promotions, community engagement, public relations, industry development, special events and customer service with an eternal smile! It’s crucial visitors leave with a positive impression.
Describe your home and work environment.
Perfect. I live and work in one of Australia’s most spectacular places. Great location, great friends and great experiences. My office is situated halfway between where I’d stay as a child and where I caught my first fish … Childhood dream realised – not that I fish much these days!
When do you swap your work gear for racing gear?
Whenever I can! Right now, I am part of a local team training for XPD in Cairns. It’s an epic 700+km adventure race taking anywhere from four to eight days to complete. It involves mountain biking, trekking, paddling, white water rafting, climbing and snorkelling – with only a map and compass. That’s got to let off some office steam!
What are some of the struggles we face in a tourism realm?
Constant change is local tourism’s biggest challenge – what works today can quickly tire in six months. New and interesting promotion techniques need to be routinely implemented. New media means information needs to be current and readily accessible. Also, visitor and community expectations are constantly evolving, with people being much more discerning about holiday experiences.
The focus is always to foster a strong community and industry, working together towards a shared vision. The challenge is getting everyone on board and owning it.
Why would you not change your current circumstances for the world?
I am happy here and also a firm believer that the grass is never greener. You get back from anything, including life, what you give.
Do you ever feel like you live a double life?
My life in and out of the office is pretty disparate! I carry an assortment of hats (bike helmets!) which I regularly swap depending on the circumstances.
Life Motto: To borrow from Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”.
Thank you Richard.