17 December 2009

At the age of 21, Anstead’s Leonie Bowles has already seen many parts of the world, including Canada, Japan and even Bermuda.

It is no surprise that Miss Bowles has just finished her undergraduate studies at The University of Queensland’s School of Tourism.

She will put her new skills and knowledge to good use, taking up an internship at the United Nations in the Spanish capital of Madrid in January.

Miss Bowles will be a project officer and research assistant at the UN’s World Tourism Organisation headquarters from January 18.

The job will come with its challenges, juggling the economic benefit of tourism in poorer nations with the retention of cultural identities and natural environments.

"It is a dream job,’’ Miss Bowles said. `"I really like what the UN does through the World Tourism Organisation. It is about community development and sustainable development management.

"I can see the benefits of tourism for the community and industry, but we need people in there educating and regulating before everything the people come to see shrivels up. Tourism should not exploit people. It should give something back.’’

Miss Bowles has some experience in research, spending 10 days in Ipswich in September and October, working with operators and Ipswich City Council to identify opportunities for tourism growth.

It was part of the Tourism Regional Internship Program (TRIP), with School of Tourism academics and students presenting results at a workshop in Ipswich on October 23.

"It was good to gain more experience in the field. I see it as a learning experience. I really like to contribute positively to things.’’

Miss Bowles travelled around Europe when she was still young. She gained a work visa for Canada when she turned 18, using the trip to also check out the US and Bermuda.

"I get myself into things that are going on. I jump on the bandwagon. I have an adventurous streak. I once travelled for 12 hours to see the Northern Lights. I have been on a dog sled in the Yukon.’’

Miss Bowles said she recently found her `"to do’" list written about a year ago with travel to Spain at the very top and Nepal further down.

Media: Leonie Bowles (0424 795 878) or Erik de Wit (0417 088 772). Photos available on request.