Celebrating 50 years: a look at Arinex milestones

As we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are reflecting on the journey that brought us here. Founded in 1973 by Roslyn McLeod (OAM), a trailblazing female entrepreneur in the tourism and business events industry, Arinex became a leader in event management. Roslyn led the company for 48 years – becoming a respected global industry figure and creating unforgettable experiences for our clients – before handing the reins to the equally passionate and talented Nicole Walker in 2021.

As we look back at the highlights of the past five decades, we are reminded of the countless challenges we have faced and the numerous milestones we have achieved under Roslyn’s vision and leadership. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of our most memorable events and achievements of the past 50 years.


(L-R) Liz Notter, Roslyn McLeod and Julie Taylor on a tours desk at a conference.

  • 1970: Roslyn McLeod becomes the first Japanese-speaking tour guide for the Australian Tourist Commission, now known as Tourism Australia.
  • 1971: Roslyn establishes Try-a-Guide, rebrands it to Take-a-Guide in 1972, laying the foundation for her business.
  • 1973: Roslyn opens the company’s first office on Margaret St, Sydney, with her mother managing the office and Mayumi McCawley as the first employee, marking the official start of the company’s history.
  • 1976: Decision made to specialise in international conferences, providing language services, special events, and tour services.
  • 1978: Tour Hosts, Roslyn’s company, is officially registered.
  • 1978: Conference Interpreter Services (CIS) division is established.
  • 1978: Tour Hosts is appointed to provide simultaneous interpreting for the Antarctic Consultative Treaty by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • 1979: Tour Hosts receives its first appointment to conduct the conference tours program for the International Proprietary Medicine Conference, marking a significant milestone for the company.

Roslyn’s highlight: “I am 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.”


  • In the Eighties, Tour Hosts began to focus on special events. The team created a replica of Gulgong, the town featured on the $10 note, for indoor events with an Australiana theme in venues such as Sydney Town Hall. Other themes included “A Taste of Australia,” “Colonial Australia,” and “Life in the Bush.” Camden Park, the home of John Macarthur on the $2 note, was a popular location outside of Sydney, while Yengo at Mount Wilson provided a unique setting in the famous Blue Mountains. Tour Hosts gained a high profile for creating these unforgettable events for international audiences.
  • 1980: Tour Hosts establishes a finance department to strengthen its operations.
  • 1980: Following its success with the Antarctic Consultative Treaty, Tour Hosts is appointed to provide language services for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a role that spans 13 years. CCAMLR remains the only international commission headquartered in Australia.
  • 1982-83: Roslyn serves as the President of the Association of Conference Executives (ACE), which later became the Meetings Industry Association of Australia (MIAA) and is now known as Meetings & Events Australia (MEA).
  • 1985 Bangkok and 1986 Athens: Roslyn attends both events as an observer of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
  • 1987: Tour Hosts becomes a member of ICCA, reflecting its focus on international meetings.
  • 1988: CIS is appointed to provide simultaneous interpreting for 33 conferences during the Australian Bicentenary. This marks a significant achievement for the company.
  • 1988: Tour Hosts expands its services to include management of national meetings in addition to its established focus on international meetings.
  • 1989: The Australian recession, combined with the Gulf War and Ansett Pilots Strike, poses significant challenges for Tour Hosts and the broader events industry.

Roslyn’s highlight:

“The Australian Bicentenary in 1988 was a significant moment for the growth of business events in Australia and our Company played a key role in managing 61 international and 6 domestic conferences providing tour, social and management programs. We also undertook 33 simultaneous interpreting conference assignments. Our success during the Bicentenary further built our reputation as a leading provider of language, tour and hospitality management services for international meetings, and set the threshold for our move into conference management (PCO).The lessons from the ’89 recession propelled our management into a new phase and sent us in pursuit of business management improvement.”


Pam Harpur (far left and Roslyn McLeod (far right) with conference staff at Global Cultural Diversity Conference for Prime Minister and Cabinet.

  • 1990: Tour Hosts becomes an official Professional Conference Organiser (PCO).
  • 1990: Tour Hosts delivers the International Iron and Steel Conference for BHP, helping the company come back from the recession and forming a relationship that would lead to the management of its Corporate Hospitality Program for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • 1990: Tour Hosts appointed to the Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM), leading to many scientific conference appointments.
  • 1993: Roslyn joins the Rotary Club of Sydney, which proved beneficial for Tour Hosts. They were able to take advantage of the Rotary Club’s youth programs, participate in fellow Rotarians’ conference appointments, and contribute to community and charity opportunities.
  • 1993: Tour Hosts creates its IT department.
  • 1995: Meetings Industry Association of Australia – now Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) – recognises Roslyn with a Commemoration of Life Membership 1986-1995, presented in appreciation of outstanding achievements, support and dedication to the meetings industry over the past 20 years.
  • 1996: Roslyn joins the ICCA Board, serving on the Board for six years.
  • 1996 The Ministerial Mission to Japan was a significant honour.
  • 1997: The Tourism Council of Australia presents Roslyn with The Federal Minister’s Special Award.
  • 1997-1998: Roslyn is invited to join INCON and IAPCO.
  • 1997: Tour Hosts’ website goes live.
  • 1997: Tour Hosts delivers the 19th World Congress of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, the company’s first major medical conference. This conference was a 12-year journey from the first of two unsuccessful bids. Tour Hosts was the first PCO to process abstracts directly from the internet into event management software.
  • 1997 – 1999: Roslyn serves as President and Director of the Meetings Industry Association of Australia (MIAA), now known as Meetings & Events Australia (MEA).
  • 1998: Roslyn chairs the 37th ICCA General Assembly and Congress in Japan.
  • 1998: Tour Hosts creates its Human Resources department.
  • 1998: Tour Hosts delivers the 12th International Congress on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG12) in Perth.
  • 1999: Tour Hosts delivers the International Union of Microbiological Congresses, which had over 4,000 participants across two weeks.
  • 1999: Roslyn 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.

Roslyn’s highlight: “During this decade, Tour Hosts matured as a PCO, relinquished our tour guide services and directed our focus towards the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It was common during this era for the Opera House and the Sydney Town Hall to frequently host receptions and opening ceremonies. This ended with the decade. It was our decade of science and a leap in business management and understanding both for Arinex and the business of our clients.”


Arinex staff at the Sydney Opera House for Corroboree 2000

  • 2000: Tour Hosts establishes a sponsorship and exhibition department (SPONEX) and registers the copyright.
  • 2000: Tour Hosts acquires Australian Convention Management Services (ACMS), a small PCO business.
  • Corroboree 2000 was a milestone event for Indigenous Australia we managed at the Sydney Opera House. Broadcast on SBS Arinex was proud to manage this complex event with its Harbour Bridge walk and activities stretched across the city.
  • 2000: Tour Hosts delivers BHP’s Corporate Hospitality program for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, which involved 19 days of hospitality for 2600 guests, hosts, and partners. It remains one of Tour Hosts’ most complex and challenging projects.
  • 2001: Tour Hosts manages the 2001 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS). Their clients invented important mobile microchip technology.
  • 2001: Tourism NSW recognises Tour Hosts and Roslyn with the Award for Business Excellence and the Outstanding Contribution by an Individual award.
  • 2003: The Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau recognises Roslyn as one of the ten most successful women in business tourism.
  • 2003: SARS outbreak occurs, causing significant disruption to the travel and tourism industries worldwide.
  • 2004: Tour Hosts manages the World Energy Conference.
  • 2005-2007: Tour Hosts appointed to G20 and 12 ancillary meetings, managed the ABS international meeting ISI.
  • 2006: Tour Hosts delivers BHP Hospitality Program for the Commonwealth Games.
  • 2006: Tour Hosts acquires The Meeting Planners, a Melbourne-based company.
  • 2007: Tour Hosts launches first electronic poster system in Australia.
  • 2007: Tour Hosts opens Brisbane office.
  • 2007: MEA presents Roslyn with an Outstanding Contribution Award.
  • 2008 -2009: Global Financial Crisis impacts the industry, leading to a decrease in conference attendance and corporate events.
  • 2008: Tour Hosts delivers its largest incentive program for a Spanish insurance company, with 1460 attendees.
  • 2008: Roslyn and key staff visit Tokyo to experience its INCON partners’ advanced technology, triggering the growth of the company’s technology applications.
  • 2009: Tour Hosts and The Meeting Planners rebrand as Arinex, operating in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
  • 2009: Arinex delivers the Parliament of World Religions Conference in Melbourne

Roslyn’s highlight:“In our company’s history, the Sydney 2000 Olympics was a monumental event, unlike any other. It was a massive undertaking, involving six years of preparation, complex management protocols, and a diverse range of high-profile guests. While other conferences we have managed are equally important and achieve an amazing array of ‘firsts’, few have the same level of scope, community impact, funding, and nationwide importance as the Olympics. It was an unforgettable experience for our team, and we are proud to have delivered BHP’s Corporate Hospitality program for the event. Additionally, securing the G20 Treasury meetings was a significant achievement as was the leap in technology direction.”


ICCA President James Rees, Roslyn McLeod and Past President Nina Freysen-Pretorius at the 57th ICCA Congress.

  • 2010: Arinex contributes to the delivery of the Lions Club International Convention 2010, working on 8 out of the 11 contracted services with the Chicago in-house team.
  • 2010: Arinex introduces an event mobile app and eposter technology to its suite of electronic event management platforms.
  • 2011: Arinex expands its operations with the opening of a Perth office.
  • 2011: The global economy and the travel and business events industry are affected by the tragic events of 9/11.
  • 2013: Roslyn is recognised for her achievements in the meetings industry by being awarded AIME Industry Person of the Year.
  • 2014: Arinex launches advanced abstract management software. Acquires Sapro, a conference management company based in Adelaide.
  • 2016: Arinex successfully manages the 18th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG18) in Perth, which brought together over 8,000 participants.
  • 2018: Roslyn is presented with the Global Inspirational Woman award by ICCA during its 57th Congress in Dubai.
  • 2019: Roslyn is honoured with the Paul Flackett IMEX Academy Award in Frankfurt for her outstanding contributions to the meetings industry.
  • 2019: Arinex introduces a formal Sustainability Policy and signs the IAPCO Plastics Pledge to drastically reduce the amount of plastic used at events.

Roslyn’s highlight: “Standout milestone from the 2010s: Arinex managed several exceptional conferences- the LNG exhibition and conference which was particularly significant due to the importance of the LNG industry to Australia’s economy; and the International Congress of Immunology, which was on the eve of its global significance to the immunology community with Covid.”


Nicole Walker and Roslyn McLeod OAM on the INCON stand at IMEX Frankfurt.

  • 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions on travel and social gatherings force the events industry in Australia to shut down completely.
  • 2021: Arinex experiences a change of ownership as Roslyn retires and hands over the reins to Nicole Walker, marking a significant milestone in the company’s history.
  • 2021: Arinex creates history by being inducted into MEA’s Hall of Fame for the third consecutive time , making it the first PCO to achieve this feat.
  • 2021: Nicole is elected as the President of EEAA, an honour for a young and upcoming owner in this large and important sector of business events.
  • 2021: After 17 years at 51 Druitt St, Arinex moves its Sydney office to 44 Market St, marking a new chapter in the company’s growth and development.
  • 2022: Arinex becomes Australia’s first event management company to achieve carbon neutral certification, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices.
  • 2022: Roslyn receives an Honorary Membership of ICCA, a testament to her significant contributions to the global meetings industry.
  • 2023: Arinex’ entire national workforce meets in Cairns for the company’s conference including three days of education sessions along with site inspections and tours.
  • 2023: Arinex celebrates its 50-year anniversary year.

Roslyn’s comment: “As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, it is important to look towards the future of Arinex and our industry. We have achieved so much in the past decades, but it is crucial that we continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of event management. I am confident that under Nicole’s leadership, Arinex will continue to thrive and make an impact in the industry. It is important that we reflect on our past successes and learn from our challenges to ensure that we provide the best possible service to our clients and stakeholders in the future. As we move forward, we must remain committed to our legacy of innovation, excellence, and sustainability. I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last 50 years and I am excited for what the future holds for Arinex and the industry as a whole.”