RACHEL HANCOCK – From selling newspapers to selling the Gold Coast to the world

WORDS: Ocean Road Magazine PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

Two years ago, you made the jump from a journalism career of more than two decades to tourism. Why the move and how have you found it?

I had a wonderful career of 22 years with News Corp Australia which took me right across the country, from editing The NT News to deputy editor of The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail, to Gold Coast Bulletin editor. But after dragging two boys and a husband around with me as I progressed my career, we fell in love with the Gold Coast and wanted to put down our roots after more than a decade of moving for career opportunities. From the minute we arrived, this city gave our family so many great opportunities and I wanted to give back. Tourism always interested me, and the ability to share this amazing city and its benefits to the world seemed the perfect fit.

I am absolutely loving it. I have just taken on a new role as Head of Visitor Economy and Corporate Relations at Experience Gold Coast, which combines, among other things, my two passions – tourism and media! My motto is “never stop learning, never stop improving’’ and there’s been a lot of that over the past two years!

What is it about the Gold Coast that drew you to call it your forever home?

Lifestyle is the easy answer, but I’m not talking just about weather and beaches. The Gold Coast has so much vibrancy and a have-a-go spirit that seems instilled in everyone you meet. It’s full of amazing people with amazing stories, and from the moment we arrived people were so welcoming. The excitement around this city is unmatched, and the next decade is going to put the Gold Coast on an even greater trajectory. I was particularly drawn to the opportunities it provided and will continue to provide, my two sons. The schools here are of such high quality, as are the universities such as Griffith where my eldest son is studying. If a city can tick the boxes of lifestyle, learning and job opportunities, then it’s a win for me.

 Favourite headline?

“They stole my dog while I was on the bog”. Of course, it’s an NT News headline! It was a front page story about a woman who went for a run, spent longer than expected on the toilet, and the council dog catcher took her patiently-waiting dog away. It’s so good they made it into a fridge magnet! She got the dog back, by the way.

But more seriously, I loved the advocacy work we did – and they continue to do – at the Gold Coast Bulletin around the Future Gold Coast and Women of the Year series. So many great stories and celebrations of our city and its people.

If you were a tour guide for the weekend, where would you take your visitors?

Just a weekend? The Gold Coast waterways are spectacular so it would have to involve some sightseeing on the water… I’m starting to learn golf so a trip to Top Golf, and dinner at Rick Shores. I love taking visitors to HOTA as there is so much to do there, from markets and movies to the gallery, fine dining and rooftop bar. And if I can squeeze in some shopping, Pacific Fair is a must.

What’s a typical weekend for you?

Well, I am a soccer mum so it normally revolves around that and travelling between the Gold Coast and Brisbane to watch my youngest son play. I like to start my Saturday with a gym session (shout out to Fitstop Bundall!), followed by reading the Bully and the Weekend Aus over coffee. My husband loves his meat smoker so he normally gets that cranking and we have some friends over for lunch or dinner.

What would you tell your younger self?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. God, I have sweated over a lot of small stuff over the years!