Tourism Partners catches up with Ange Esdaile, Director Go Fish Australia
You’ve been in the tourism industry for 35+ years. How did your career evolve?
I started working at the Queensland Government Tourism Bureau (now TEQ) in 1984 straight from school. My first job was to hand-write airline tickets, before printers or the internet. From there I moved through the TEQ ranks and finished 10 years later as an international marketing consultant. I have since worked in tourism and events in some of Australia’s biggest brands such as NAB, Dreamworld and Moreton Hire before I started my own business in April 2017.
What’s your elevator pitch for Go Fish Australia?
A boutique travel agency for the fishing fraternity specialising in luxury fishing experiences across Australia. We are also fishing-tourism consultants for RTO’s and STO’s across Australia. Did you know there are more fishing rods sold in Australia than there are push bikes?
Your business started in Queensland and has gone nationally quickly. What has driving the fast expansion?
The business started fairly low-key in Queensland but was picked up very quickly by national hotel chains and the travel trade wanting upmarket and bespoke fishing travel itineraries for this specialist market. We were encouraged to offer the same service nationally which forced us to adapt very quickly. A new website was created only three months after the launch of the first one. As we were able to offer luxury and non-luxury fishing experiences, we appealed to a broad majority. To add, fishing is usually associated with thongs and dirty shirts, but the travel trade responded very positively to this new fishing brand from a woman in heels who understands the fishing market and how it works in tourism.
Tourism Australia has made fishing one of its ‘signature experiences’, what has that done for the tourism fishing industry?
I work very closely with Tourism Australia in this regard to try and educate an Australian tourism industry on the enormous potential of this market. Fishing has become the ‘golf tourism’ of the 90’s as it is a specialist tourism market. The USA, Japan and Europe love their fishing in both salt water and fresh water and Australia has such a diversity of species that can be fished all year round. We are an incredible fishing destination!
What commercial tourism operators are doing fishing tourism well?
Oh my goodness where do I start? It depends where you are. Tropical North Queensland, including the Gulf, Cape York and Cairns have an incredible selection of operators for the Australian drive market through to the international fishing fanatic, both luxury and non-luxury experiences. Indigenous fishing experiences are going to be huge to the international market. South Australia have the biggest fish in Australia both in weight and size and those operators know exactly what they’re doing. Hervey Bay, Fraser Island and Whitsundays/Mackay have different types of fishing product again. Australians understand and love their fishing!
What is the next big thing for Go Fish Australia?
Our new website www.gofishaustralia.com.au will be launched in late June and our sister site, www.luxuryfishingaustralia.com.au will launch in July. I continue to travel around Australia regularly experiencing fishing product and consulting with both state and regional tourism organisations who want to understand and leverage off fishing tourism. I guess I’m going to have to employ more staff sooner than I thought!
On a lighter note ….
What’s your greatest fishing adventure to date?
I will always say growing up fishing with my Dad on our boat in Moreton Bay. I learnt about boats, fishing and how to read the weather. But as an adult, I can’t beat barramundi fishing by helicopter in the remote Savannah Way in the Gulf of Carpentaria. To find a fishing spot that has not been fished for years and is swimming with giant barra is pretty special.
You’ve made a recent ‘green change’ from the city to regional Australia, what’s the biggest differences?
Moving to the hills of northern NSW on a few acres has been great, except when I’m on a conference call and there’s a chicken clucking under my desk! Also, lots of driving to Brisbane airport has only been made more enjoyable by a good podcast.
When you arrive home from a week away what do you like doing?
I have just completed 19 flights in 21 days and to come home was pure bliss. I love cooking with a good sav blanc and some very loud music.
You’ve travelled Australia, what are your favourite places for city and nature experiences?
For the city you can’t beat Brisbane. It’s cosmopolitan but doesn’t have the seriousness or stuffiness of some of our neighbours in the South. And for nature, get over to Moreton Island as soon as you can. If you want beauty, solitude and splendour, Moreton has it all.
Having worked for a scuba diving company on the Great Barrier Reef do you still have a bent for outdoor adventure?
For sure! Although I have had the privilege of growing up in tourism and staying in some of the world’s best hotels, I now prefer camping. The smell of the campfire, the lack of routine and the absolute opportunity to relax is heaven. A little bit of Wi-Fi is ok too. Although it’s not really that adventurous, once the tent is up and the fire lit, the rest of the holiday is just sitting and sipping.
When hitting the kitchen what is your hero dish(s)?
Chicken and Leek Pie
What Australian company(s) do you see leading innovation?
Southern Cross Austereo and Apple are the two that come to mind. Radio has to change and innovate to survive today as Podcasts become ever more popular. Apple have a great company culture and encourage staff to get involved in environmental issues in their packaging and recycling options. They both have to innovate regularly to stay fresh and relevant.
What global brands do you have an affinity with?
Probably the brands I have integrated into my daily life, Apple and Google. But I have a great affinity with brands that are trying to change the world such as Greenpeace, the Australian Koala Foundation and the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation, trying to fix both animal extension and climate change all at once.
If you could wave a magic wand what one problem in Australia would you fix?
Racism! And apathy.
What is your personal number one online retailer for purchases?
Ebay. Also the dog food company who posts 15kg dog food to me in a country area for my overweight Labrador!
Favourite web site(s)?
What is the one thing you always pack when travelling (apart from a phone charger)?
Beautiful soap. It’s the only thing that makes me feel good after a long day of meetings and lots of traveling. If I could pack some Margaret River Savignon Blanc and get it through security I’d consider that too!
Tourism Partners provides bespoke tourism consultancy services for small to large businesses and for local, state and federal governments. We work with partners such as Ange to help products and destinations shine.