Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries, speaking during the Interferry Leader’s Panel
Interferry members have gathered in Hobart, the capital city of the island state of Tasmania in Australia, for the association’s 47th annual conference.
Delegates participated in a full programme of tours, networking and social events over the weekend, including visits to Bruny Island and Port Arthur, the annual Carus Cup golf tournament, played at Royal Hobart Golf Club, and a welcome reception held at the Henry James Art Hotel.
The speakers’ programme began on Monday, although not before some of the more eager delegates who comprise the IMS Run Crew had completed their morning exercise!
Opening ceremonies saw words of welcome and wisdom from Mike Corrigan, the CEO of Interferry, as well as Bernard Dwyer, CEO of Spirit of Tasmania and Jeremy Rockliff, the premier of Tasmania.
The themes for this year’s event are ‘the leading edge, elevating the customer experience and sustainability’. Each of these topics shone through in the two keynotes. Rob Pennicott, the Australian founder of Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, provided an engaging talk that emphasised that great customer experience can only be fully achieved through a very personalised and human service.
Robert Dougan, executive general manager of strategy and research at Tourism Australia, followed with insights from a wealth of data on global travel and tourism trends. He highlighted nature’s increasingly dominant presence at the top of tourism demands and said: “Pleasure – we need more of it!”
Additional sessions covered automation, ticketing and booking, the customer experience, electricifation and passenger-only ferries. The final slot of day one was reserved for the first of two Leader’s Panels, with executives from ferry companies across the world debating some of the industry’s hot topics.
The first day of the Interferry speakers’ programme was followed by an evening reception at the Aura venue, overlooking the Hobart waterfront.