Name: Debra Matthews
Position title: Sales Manager, Western Australia
Company name: Thai Airways International
When and why did you join the industry?
Joined the ‘Hospitality and Tourism’ industry back when many of you weren’t even thought of. It was the 80’s – deep pockets, a glamorous industry and I wanted to be just like the amazing, fun but hard working personalities that were key figures in the big hospitality and tourism companies.
What do you like most about your job?
The people I work with – within and outside THAI.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I have enjoyed my progressive career at THAI. Being successful at day-to-day projects, plans, promotions and functions are all big achievements. Like this, being interviewed by ETB.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
So much good advice, and great life lessons from my parents, but my favourite from an industry icon – “Risk Taking Pays Off”, from the famous WB, you know who you are!
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
WB, and no longer in the industry but my admiration continues for two incredible ladies, from the Hilton days – Alison Petrie and Debbie-ann Scott (nee Bosman).
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Working for the national carrier of Thailand I’m proud to showcase this company at every opportunity highlighting its smooth as silk graciousness together with aviation innovations.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
New York City & Prague
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Running the Bangkok Marathon (well, half marathon), and the Thai massage that followed.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
It used to be PMT (passport, money, ticket) before the days of universal credit cards and e-tickets, so now it’s passport, phone, ipad.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
They are famous in my eyes…the entire THAI Australia hardworking team, because we never get to leave the station at the same time. Of course we would have to travel to Thailand.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Better be up or forwards. We all need to evolve with this rapidly changing industry. Technology is changing the world daily but there is nothing like experiencing a destination personally by seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching it. So sell the personal experience, with your personal touch!
Face of Travel: Debra Matthews: Sales Manager WA: Thai Airways