19 Jul 2021

AACB Announces Destinations International Prize Winner for 2021

The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) is excited to announce the Destinations International Prize for 2021 has been awarded to Stephanie Heyneke, Business Development Executive at Brisbane EDA.

Ms Heyneke 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 presented to Ms Heyneke by Juliet Alabaster, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Brisbane EDA.

Andrew Hiebl, AACB CEO congratulated Ms Heyneke and said "With the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus, it is great to see our global partnership with Destinations International still provide opportunities for young professionals to learn from the international business events community and connect with their peers from afar. Ms Heyneke will be exposed to a marketplace of ideas on a national scale which will be unique to the pandemic recovery and future of business events". 

Ms Heyneke'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 this year, 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. Ms Heyneke highly recommends Iceland’s sweatpant boots campaign, for an example of a light-hearted quirky recovery campaign.

Ms Heyneke 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.” 

Heyneke 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.”

Ms Heyneke'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 AACB thanks the Destinations International Foundation for supporting this program and the industry’s future leaders.



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