Destinations International Prize

Winner announced for 2021

The AACB is excited to announce the Destinations International Prize for 2021 has been awarded to Stephanie Heyneke, Business Development Executive at Brisbane EDA.

Stephanie was delighted to receive the prize and is excited to be among a cohort of up and coming bureaux leaders. 

The Destinations International Prize certificate was presentated to Stephanie by Juliet Alabaster, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Brisbane EDA.

Stephanie's essay submission won her the opportunity to attend the virtual Destinations International Annual Convention and participate in the 30 Under 30 Professional Development Program.

Resilience and sustainability were top of mind at the hybrid event, with a series of destinations showcasing their work in this space. Presentations from Iceland, Gothenburg, and Singapore were accompanied by a panel discussion with U.S. cities on new initiatives in their destinations. Stephanie highly recommends Iceland’s sweatpant boots campaign, for an example of a light-hearted quirky recovery campaign.

Stephanie said she felt re-energised by the sessions, “It may have been the night shift with the time difference, but it certainly kept me awake. There were so many great examples of bureaux activating locally focused campaigns to boost business for operators and venues. Our industry has suffered hugely during the pandemic and it was really motivating to see how other destinations are making a tangible difference for people in their cities.”

Highlighting local success stories started from the opening plenary with keynote speaker Wes Moore, a local entrepreneur and now Democratic primary candidate for Governor of Maryland, telling his story of Baltimore. Wes spoke about how each delegate was adding their hand to the pen writing Baltimore’s story and becoming part of the city’s history. Speaking about destination professionals, Wes stated “You get to be the world’s greatest story tellers, where we go and why, which places are the places people want to spend time in and how that’s going to have impact on our future.” 

Stephanie said, “Wes’ words remind us of the value of our work for the residents and businesses of our destinations. We really can make a tangible difference. Thanks to AACB and Destinations International for this opportunity.”

Stephanie's engagement with up and coming bureaux leaders continues through a series of webinars with industry experts and best practice exchange, with the opportunity for members of the 30 Under 30 group to present on their destination’s initiatives.

The 2021 scholarship was proudly sponsored by the Destinations International Foundation.


For more information about future educational opportunties please contact the AACB on 1300 69 2222 or email 

This year's Destinations International Annual Convention featured a limited live in-person audience in Baltimore as well as an online audience on a virtual event platform. 

The hybrid event experience: 

  • Connection to peers and thought leaders from inside and outside the industry.
  • Integrated approach to learning regardless of budget size or discipline focus.
  • Relationship-based exchanges among industry providers and destination organisations.
  • Diversity of thought from assembling the best minds with local insight and global expertise.





Past winners

2021 Stephanie Heyneke, Business Development Executive, Brisbane Economic Development Agency <View Submission>.

2020 - Luncinda Hunter, Event Services Coordinator, Business and Major Events at Brisbane Economic Development Agency <View Submission>.

2019 - Casey Smith, Business Development Manager, Adelaide Convention Bureau <View Submission>.

2018 - Eleanor Wilkie, Business Development Manager, Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef <View Submission>.

2017 - Adriana Perabo, Business Development Manager at Canberra Convention Bureau <View Submission>

2016 - Emma Perez, Business Development Executive at Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef <View Submission>

2015 - Liz Hafner, Business Development Manager, Business Events Tasmania <View Submission>

2014 - Roslyn Du Plooy, Bid Executive, Melbourne Convention Bureau <View Submission>

View more on our Youtube Channel


This prize is proudly co-sponsored by:




Postal Address
PO Box 5094, Kingston, ACT 2604
Physical Address
Level 3, 24 Brisbane Avenue
Barton, ACT 2600
Telephone 1300 692222