1970s: from solo tour guide to event business leader

As Arinex approaches its 50th anniversary this May, we’re reflecting on the highlights of the past decades, beginning with the 1970s. This was a transformative era for Roslyn McLeod, the founder of Arinex, as it marked the key milestones that turned her from a solo tour guide to a fully fledged events business leader.

Roslyn McLeod’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1970 when she became the first Japanese-speaking tour guide for the Australian Tourist Commission, now known as Tourism Australia, thanks to her language skills acquired through a year-long Rotary student exchange to Japan.

Her passion for tourism and language services led her to establish Try-a-Guide in 1971, which she later rebranded as Take-a-Guide in 1972. This laid the foundation for her business, Tour Hosts, which is known today as Arinex.

In 1973, Roslyn moved her business out of her mother’s lounge room and opened her first office on Margaret Street, Sydney. Her mother managed the office and Roslyn hired the company’s first employee, marking the official start of Tour Hosts’ history. She had gone from being a solo tour guide to a business owner in just a few short years.

In 1976, Roslyn made a strategic decision to specialise in international conferences, providing language services, special events and tour services. This allowed Tour Hosts to focus on a niche area and establish itself as a leader in the field. In 1978, the Conference Interpreter Services (CIS) division was established, further cementing Tour Hosts’ position as a language services provider for international conferences.

In that same year, Tour Hosts was appointed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to provide simultaneous interpreting for the Antarctic Consultative Treaty, which showcased the company’s expertise in offering language services for high-level government conferences.

In 1979, Tour Hosts received its first appointment to conduct the conference tours program for the International Proprietary Medicine Conference. In doing so, Roslyn and her team solidified their reputation for providing high-quality tour services for international conferences.

Reflecting on these milestones, Roslyn said she was proud of the evolution from a solo tour guide to a business owner.

“Starting with guiding, I expanded our services to include tour programs and made the strategic decision to specialise in international conferences, offering language services, tours and hospitality management. This was a key decision in the growth and success of Tour Hosts,” she said.

Roslyn’s entrepreneurial spirit and strategic approach in the 1970s paved the way for decades of business success, demonstrating that with determination and hard work, a passion can be transformed into a thriving enterprise.