q1-elevator2
Going Up: Elevator shaft view of Q1 Resort and Spa, Surfers Paradise, venue for the Gold Coast Be My Guest Program workshops.

The Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast ‘Be My Guest’ initiative supports the efforts of Gold Coast businesses to enhance their standards of quality service for visitors coming to the city  in the lead up to, and including, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

I attended a Be My Guest Program workshop today along with tourism, hospitality and retail business representatives delivered by TravConsult, specialists in Asian market insights for aviation, tourism & retail development and official training providers of the Be My Guest Program. The program aims to transform the Gold Coast’s service industry  standards from customer service as a necessary function to a guest experience based on empathy, engagement, and  highly personalised engagement with guests who will visit in the lead up to and during the Commonwealth Games.  Central to the effort is the notion of Global Locals, someone whose experiences in the wider world crystalises their passion for the place they choose to live, work and play. This can be anyone from a high profile athlete, entrepreneur or creator to a junior cafe kitchen hand.

Famous for fun, sun and surf, the Gold Coast has no shortage of well known sporting ambassadors from former world Ironman champion Trevor Hendy to world champion surfers Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore who have articulated their love for the Gold Coast as global locals.

It was inspiring to hear from another ‘global local’ Professor Mark von Itzstein, Director & Principal Research Leader of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics. A Gold Coast local, Professor von Itzstein hasa distinguished science and academic career and worked in Europe and Melbourne whose body of work is a multidisciplinary approach to drug and vaccine discovery research. They are fighting diseases of global impact and are currently working on a cure for human malaria.

Dr von Itzstein reflected on his vision to create a base for scientific research to flourish in the Gold Coast, known principally for its tourism industry, casinos, high rise living, surf beaches and theme parks. While these are critical to the city’s prosperity and central to the visitor experience, developing a broader based of industry specialisation and a reputation for  scientific research excellence is a microcosm for Australia’s need to excel and innovate beyond the sporting field and the exploitation of mineral riches.

The Gold Coast and Australia can be proud of this groundbreaking work, and should capitalise on the opportunity that the Commonwealth Games presents to showcase cerebral excellence to visitors,  athletes, sponsors, investors and government officials –  all guests – from around the globe in 2018.