Managing Director of The Walshe Group and Chairman of Southern Travel Holdings.
Jacqui Walshe is the long-term managing director of The Walshe
Group, which provides dedicated airline and destination representation services to some of the world’s most trusted travel brands such as Delta, Sultanate of Oman Tourism, Lufthansa, NYC and Company, Hawaii Tourism Oceania,
Abu Dhabi Tourism, South African Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, and Flanders Tourism.
She is also a director of the Australia Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and was voted one of the Top 10 most powerful women in the Australian travel industry at the inaugural Travel Weekly Women in Tourism Awards 2016. walshegroup.com
When did you start out in the travel industry?
I have been in the travel industry since birth! My father worked in the industry so it was a constant in my house growing up. During my study years I had holiday jobs with an airport bus company and at an inbound tour operator. My first job after university was a six month stint as an intern at Bord Failte (Tourism Ireland) office in Dublin. After a further six months travelling in Europe I returned to work at the family business, Walshes World in Auckland.
What is it you love about working in the travel industry?
First and foremost, it’s the diversity of cultures and experiences. I love that there is always something new happening in the industry, with plenty of amazing destinations to explore and represent. Plus I genuinely find the aviation sector interesting and dynamic.
What is your favourite city to visit and why?
Very tricky to name one, so my favourites would be New York City and Dublin with a shout-out to Montreal and Cape Town.
You live in Sydney – which three places do you love showing off to international visitors?
I love Sydney. I will always drive visitors up the peninsula to Palm Beach, walk up to the lighthouse and have lunch on the water watching the seaplanes take off and land. There are some amazing walks in and around the city, so I will usually include a walk between Spit Bridge and Manly. Taking a day trip to the Blue Mountains would be my third go-to, a truly deserving World Heritage location.
What are your favourite restaurants to take guests to in Sydney?
Café Sydney never disappoints: fabulous seafood and views. Catalina is a good one to combine a water taxi trip on Sydney Harbour with great food. For something quirky but cool, Chica Bonita in Manly is a favourite.
Which places in the world would you love to visit that you haven’t been to before?
I have never been to South America so pretty much every country there is on my list. The closest I came was a trip to Guatemala but South America and Mexico are very much on my bucket list.
When not travelling for work, where do you like to go?
Nowhere! Seriously though, even after 17 years in Australia I am still proud of my New Zealand heritage with plenty of family and friends there so will always find opportunities to visit.
What tips do you have for people starting out in the travel industry?
Take the time to appreciate the range of career opportunities that exist within the industry. Work out where your preferences lie in terms of skills and aptitude and try a few different industry segments – retail, aviation, accommodation, attractions. It will broaden your perspective on how great this industry is and what an excellent career decision you have made. •