Midweek Interview with Jonathan Harris, Director of Sales, Australia, ONYX Hospitality Group

Midweek Interview with Jonathan Harris, Director of Sales, Australia, ONYX Hospitality Group
By admin


The challenge for the industry is… to secure service minded staff on an ongoing basis and deliver a high standard of service to a global client base. High costs in Australia are eating away at yields and, in my opinion, stalling our tourism development and preventing us from maximising our true potential.

The things I like about my job are… that I have an opportunity to work with a fantastic team of professionals and get to meet and interact with many exciting people from all walks of life on a regular basis. Having been around for 32 years, I am still as enthusiastic today as I was when I first started – no two days are ever the same.

And the frustrations… None, really, but if I had to choose one, it would be not having an Onyx property in Australia as yet to showcase to the tourism industry here.

If I didn’t work in travel I would be a… pilot.

Qantas or Virgin? This is a tough one as I have a long family history with Qantas but I am an admirer of both Sir Richard Branson and John Borghetti. I think John is doing an outstanding job at Virgin – he is a true professional and knows the business extremely well.

My proudest moment was… when my daughter was born, this for me was a life changing experience and was very special.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was… prefer to leave this one well alone.

I try to relax by… sitting on the farm whilst enjoying fresh air and the company of family, friends and good food. I love to leave the suit and tie at home and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. It is great to get back to nature and the basics. I think in today’s world, too many executives forget to smell the roses. Friday night footy is also a great release – turn off the phone, kick back on the couch and enjoy the game.

The last time I feared for my life… was in Indonesia during the political turmoil in the late nineties. It was a frightening experience to personally see a country turn in a matter of days.

If I can, I always try to avoid… conflict and confrontation with others. Life is too short to get caught up in conflict and it is an unnecessary evil of our society. No one benefits from conflict and, as a dear friend of mine once told me, “there is a solution to every problem”.

I really wish I had… nothing, I do not want anything more than what I have already – family and friends are the essence of life.

The best advice I’ve ever received was… listen to others and do not be judgemental. We are all human beings trying to do the best we can in life, usually under challenging circumstances. It is best to listen to others and be helpful.

I don’t understand why… people like to be judgemental and not treat others equally, afterall, we are all human beings and life is short.

My greatest weakness is… probably trying to appease everyone all the time. I enjoy helping others and trying to make a difference.

And my greatest strength… Leadership and wisdom, I have been around for a very long time and have had the privilege of working in most of the tourism sectors at some stage of my working life. My vast international experience has held me in good stead and allowed me to share my experience with others.

If I was prime minister I would… better recognise the value of tourism and commit more resources to better develop tourism to Australia. Sadly, I do not see the same support in Australia from our government when compared with other countries.

If I won $1 million on the lottery I would… share it with family and charity.

If I could be someone else for one day I would be… no one, I am comfortable with who I am and what I represent as a human being.

I’ve always wanted to travel to… Antarctica

My favorite holiday was… Nong Kai and Udon Thani in Northeastern Thailand, an amazing area and just wonderful people. Drove from Bangkok to Nong Kai which was amazing – great roads, lots to see and do and just beautiful scenery. Issan in Thailand is a very special area and unique in terms of the people, scenery and food.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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