1990s: rising to the top of conference management

The 1990s were a transformative decade for Tour Hosts as it shed its tour guide services and became an official Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), delivering major events for the global stage.

Tour Hosts (now Arinex) kicked off the decade by delivering the International Iron and Steel Conference for BHP in 1990. This event helped the company to bounce back from the economic recession and form a strong relationship that would later lead to the management of BHP’s Corporate Hospitality Program for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Also in 1990, Tour Hosts was appointed to the Australian Society for Microbiology, which led to many scientific conference appointments in the following years. Arinex founder Roslyn McLeod described this as the beginning of the company’s ‘decade of science’.

“We were able to leverage our expertise and establish ourselves as a leader in managing medical and scientific conferences,” she said.

Roslyn’s profile within the industry continued to grow and her contributions were acknowledged. In 1995, the Meetings Industry Association of Australia – now Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) – awarded her with the Commemoration of Life Membership for her exceptional achievements, unwavering support and dedication to the meetings industry for over two decades. Roslyn continued to make an impact in the industry and served as the President and Director of MEA from 1997 to 1999.

Roslyn was also appointed to the Board of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in 1996, a position she held for six years. In 1998, she chaired the 37th ICCA General Assembly and Congress in Japan, a testament to her beginnings as a Japanese-speaking Tour Guide.

In 1997, the Tourism Council of Australia presented Roslyn with The Federal Minister’s Special Award, further acknowledging her contributions to the industry. She was also invited to join global professional congress organisation bodies INCON and IAPCO.

Significant improvements to Tour Hosts business management infrastructure were also made in the 1990s. An IT department was established early in the decade, enabling the company to streamline its processes and improve efficiencies. Tour Hosts’ website went live in 1997, demonstrating a commitment to staying ahead of the curve in terms of technology and innovation.

This focus would serve Tour Hosts well when the company delivered the 19th World Congress of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in 1997 – its first major global medical congress. Tour Hosts was the first PCO to process abstracts over the internet using event management software.

In 1998, Tour Hosts took a major stride forward by organising the 12th International Congress on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG12) in Perth. This global conference was significant in that it highlighted Australia’s increasing role in the LNG trade. The subsequent year, Tour Hosts delivered the International Union of Microbiological Congress, which spanned two weeks and saw over 4,000 participants. These were major milestones that further established Tour Hosts as a leader in managing large and complex conferences.

To cap off a period of enormous growth and success, in 1999 Roslyn was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) – General Division for her outstanding contribution to the Australian tourism and meetings industry over more than 25 years.

By the close of the decade, Tour Hosts had firmly established itself as a preeminent professional conference organiser, primed to seize the boundless opportunities that the new millennium would usher in.

Stay tuned as we follow the next step in Arinex’ journey with a closer look at the significant events of the 2000s.

Catch up on our company history by checking out our previous blog posts on the milestones of the 1970s and 1980s.