Our Team

Michelle Papas
Event Director

Kick starting her career in international sales with luxury hotel groups such as Starwood, InterContinental and Shangri-La, Michelle sought to broaden her tourism industry experience with marketing roles for elite tourism attractions and within destination development and marketing.

 

She oversees the Luxperience event and ensures that the event remains innovative for the carefully selected participants and provides opportunities to tap into emerging trends and luxury brands.

 

Travel experiences are an inspiration for Michelle whether they are cultural, artistic, culinary or simply 'feel-good', and along with the relationships in the global travel industry she has cultivated over the years, her expertise and skills complement the Luxperience philosophy.

Portia Brown
Operations Manager

Portia joined Luxperience in November 2012 after a career spanning 15 years in the tourism and hospitality industry.  Previously working in a variety of operational roles, Portia began her career in Corporate Travel Management whilst working within the Catering and Events space. Her career achievements include the successful opening of a new corporate travel branch office; extensive market research for potential new offices; implementation of a dedicated client implant cell and assisting with a company buy out and merger.

 

She spent two years working in London where she diversified her skill set and worked on major infrastructure projects including the London 2010 Olympic Games facilities and HS2, the UK's newest high speed rail network. Portia is fortunate to have travelled the world and experienced some of the best-kept secrets there is on offer.

Tea Kezic
Sales Manager

tkezic@divcom.net.au

Tea is one the newest members to join the Luxperience team having spent the last seven years working with Reed Exhibitions, more recently as a Sales Manager for the Hair & Beauty portfolio. Her extensive experience in sales and client relations has seen her achieve great results such growing Hair Expo by 30% in 2016. Her biggest achievement to date was being awarded Sales Person of the year in 2015 which took her to China to work with some of the leading event organisers from around Asia and South East Asia.

 

Tea prides herself on streamlining processes and watching her clients prosper and grow at her events.

 

Born in Croatia, Tea has travelled the Croatian coast and land one too many times. Yet she can’t wait to go back, with a stop over in Paris and the Seychelles on the way back to Australia.  I’m sure working at Luxperience will increase her ‘stop over’ list substantially.

 

Claire-Ann Leo
Marketing Manager

cleo@divcom.net.au

New to the team is Claire-Ann, originally from the UK most recently having spent 4 years with Easyfairs UK & Global, responsible for driving and managing the marketing activities for packaging; industrial and engineering portfolios. During this time, Claire-Ann was responsible for contributing increased visitor numbers on her shows which subsequently lead to record-breaking exhibitor rebooks.

 

Since moving to Australia last year after travelling through South East Asia, she has worked on event projects for IMG and Meat and Livestock Australia. Claire-Ann is passionate and creative and looks forward to bringing her unique experience and passion to the Luxperience team.

 

Originally born in South Africa, this continues to be Claire-Ann’s favourite destination as it offers the perfect combination of nature, wildlife, culture, adventure, heritage and vibe.

 

Bronwyn Wilson (nee Towers)
Event Operations Executive

Bronwyn joined Luxperience in 2014, bringing with her over 15 years of travel, hospitality and customer service experience. Bronwyn holds a degree in Business Administration, amongst many other industry qualifications. A passionate event professional, Bronwyn enjoys the fast paced, multi-faceted nature of the industry. She is also passionate about the Luxperience Intern program, and delights in teaching the industry’s up and comers.

 

Her travel experience is many and varied, and these days her travel is generally fuelled by mountain biking by day, wining and dining by night and lush hotel surroundings. Her most memorable trips include exploring Tasmania’s, Freycinet National Park, sailing the Croatian coastline and experiencing hygge in Copenhagen. 

Arnie Lautaimi
Event Experiences Executive

Arnie joined the Luxperience team in early 2016 assisting with recruitings local buyers for Luxperience 2016, after working in Guest Services at Hilton Sydney whilst studying. Recently Arnie has secured the role of Business Development Executive (Buyer Relations) and continues to study a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Notre Dame Australia, majoring in Human Resource Management.

 

He is still putting together his travel wish list, but his time with Luxperience has inspired him to visit Bhutan to see Buddhist temples and the sweeping views of the Himalayas, as well as to Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Virginia Haddon
Media Relations and Founder Cascade Communications

virginia@cascadecommunications.com.au

With tertiary qualifications in travel, tourism and small business management, Virginia has broad experience in media and public relations, event management, product and destination representation, writing and strategic planning. During her 20+ years in the travel industry, Virginia has gained a wealth of knowledge and developed a large and diverse network of contacts. Virginia has worked with an enviable list of clients including Peninsula Hotels, Silversea Cruises, Sea Cloud Cruises, VisitScotland, German National Tourist Office, Switzerland Tourism, Philippine Department of Tourism and TripAdvisor and spent time as Associate Editor for American Express Departures and Centurion magazines.

 

Virginia founded Cascade Communications as a specialist full service PR and Marketing Consultancy for high-end travel and lifestyle brands.

WORLDWIDE AGENTS

ASIA

Meeko Tien – Owner of Meeko Tourism Connections

With extensive and highly  respected connections with the Australian and Asian travel industries Meeko is an enthusiastic traveller and plays an essential role to our growth in the Asian market. She has visited many of the great cities of the world, learning about local cultures, meeting fascinating people and enthusiastically engaged in the sights, sounds, smells and especially tastes of India, China, Japan, Korea and South East Asia.

 

A keen with photographer, Meeko has captured thousands of photographs from the cinematic landscapes of New Zealand and China, to the classical beauty of the major European capitals and the romantic, rustic cities of Southern France, Spain, Italy and Malta.

EUROPE, UK, AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Dimitris Athanasopoulos – Business Development Manager - Europe, UK, Africa and Middle East

di.athanasopoulos@luxperience.com.au

Being in the travel industry for more than 10 years, Dimitris draws upon his experience as a professional travel journalist and photographer, Business Development Manager and Hotel Consulting specialist to source, as well as enhance, the positioning of exclusive luxury and boutique hotels and experiences.

 

With such credentials and a passion for travel, Dimitris is driven by the life motto that regardless of the extent of the journey each discovery can be a unique travel experience. Focusing on both established and emerging tourism markets across Europe Dimitris is working to enhance the Luxperience footprint with suppliers and buyers from these regions.

LATIN AMERICA

Ruben de la Fuente – Owner of Latinos DownUnder

A seasoned professional, Ruben has worked for some of the largest tour operators in Australia and has the confidence, experience, network and knowledge within the tourism industry to connect Latin Americans with Australasia and the Pacific.

 

Career and travel experience highlights include his regular travels to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and Chile. He believes the joy of sharing his knowledge of his adopted home of Australia and its amazing experiences with the Latinos during his travels is an added bonus.

INDIA

Deepika Chowdhry – Founder and CEO Candid India

Deepika is a highly reputed and respected professional marketer with more than 18 years’ experience in the world of hospitality and tourism. She is very well connected, not only with MICE and leisure buyers but also within the wildlife, adventure and travel agent community in India and abroad.

 

Her extensive experience includes roles with renowned international exhibitions such as IMEX, ILTM, and IT&MA. She is the Founder CEO of Candid India, a tourism and hospitality representation company based in New Delhi, India.