Wendy Bithell of Vision Walks has found a way to manage very well during lockdown and beyond

This free webinar was held on Tuesday 8th March 2022

  • Engaging domestic travellers when internationals aren’t coming
  • Keeping afloat through the tough times
  • Predicting what may lay ahead?
  • New technologies, new approaches, new emphasis, new activities …

Lockdown is easing but that doesn’t mean everything will immediately be back to normal, and we can never tell what will happen next to restrict long distance travel.


(Scroll down for further details)

  • Introduction. Ronda Green (Chair, WTA)
  • Live Virtual Wildlife Experiences – the possibilities are endless. Wendy Bithell, Vision Walks, NSW
  • Staying relevant during COVID times. Roland Pick, Philip Island Nature Parks, Victoria
  • The Challenges that don’t Kill Us make us Stronger. Peter O’Reilly, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and O’Reilly’s Vineyard, Qld
  • Questions and Discussion (chaired by Noel Scott, WTA committee)

Wendy Bithell is the founder of Vision Walks- Eco Tours.  She’s passionate about protecting wildlife and is unashamedly a bit of a nerd. Wendy has a BSc in natural resource management and MSc in advanced learning technologies. The latter she attained while producing interactive learning content for the BBC. For the past 14 years Wendy has been running Vision Walks, an award winning eco-tourism business in Byron Bay, focusing on Walks and Wildlife experiences. Wendy loves mixing environmental science with technological science, which lead to her developing her Night Vision Walks. These walks involve using military grade night vision goggles to observe wildlife in the rainforest, she was awarded an innovative patent for this experience. Recent events have once again got her looking towards technology assisted wildlife experiences.  

Synopsis of Talk: Live Virtual Wildlife Experiences – the possibilities are endless.

Faced with temporary closure of her eco-tourism business in 2020, Wendy Bithell merged her eco-tourism experience with her interactive learning background and live virtual tours were born. Wendy conducts her tours, live on Zoom, with her clients all over the world. They are able to see and interact with the guides in real time and enjoy an experience that is like an interactive documentary.  Wendy thought with the opening up of travel, that the demand live virtual tours would decrease, but they are increasing. These tours will not replace Vision Walks in-person tours, but is giving Vision Walks another revenue stream, that looks like it’s here to stay. 

Roland Pick has been with Phillip Island Nature Parks for over 9 years in a range of diverse roles including Admissions & Reservations, Marketing, Head of International Sales and Communications for the last 6 years, and has recently been appointed as Interpretations & Project Officer. Roland has over 25 years’ experience in the Tourism industry in both South Australia and Victoria, including as a retail and wholesale Travel Agent, Group Reservations Supervisor for a European river cruise operator, and as Sales Executive for a Canada small group touring specialist.    

Synopsis of Talk: Staying relevant during COVID times

COVID has presented the world, and the tourism industry, with sustained challenges that most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes, and hopefully never will again. Roland Pick will share some of the initiatives attempted by Phillip Island Nature Parks including the Great Penguin Race, Nature Unfiltered Podcasts, and Live Penguin TV, as they worked hard to remain relevant during a time of lockdowns and information overload.

Peter O’Reilly was born and bred in the hills of Lamington National Park.  He has been involved in O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat all of his life and has been a director of the family company for over 20 years and is Chair of their Caunugra Valley Vineyards venture.  Experiential tourism has been a constant in his career with senior management roles at Currumbin Sanctuary, Tourism Queensland, Tourism Whitsundays, Cruise Whitsundays and for the last eight years, Queensland College of Wine Tourism.  He was chairman of Ecotourism Australia for several years and played an integral role in the development of eco and nature tourism certification in this country.  

Synopsis of Talk: The challenges that don’t kill us make us stronger.  On that basis COVID  may just be one of the greatest things to happen to regional tourism experiences in Queensland.