19 January 2017
A USC graduate is helping people get up close and personal with the giants of the ocean in her job at Whale One cruises at Mooloolaba.
Birtinya resident Keisha Semchyshyn, 24, is working in the sales and reservations team at whale-watching company Whale One after completing a USC Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management) last year.
During her degree, Keisha was one of six students chosen to travel to Tonga to assist a USC academic in a major research project on the Pacific island’s swim with whales industry.
She said her experience investigating the marine tourism industry in Tonga, where she also swam alongside humpback whales, had helped her land the role with Whale One.
“To be working in an environment that combines my personal passion for wildlife with my tourism skills and knowledge is fantastic,” Keisha said.
“I’m responsible for taking bookings by phone and online, as well as dealing with customers who come into the shop. I really get a kick out of helping people have these amazing encounters.
“My work in Tonga definitely played a part in getting the job here. It was a life-changing experience for me – both academically and personally – and really fuelled my interest in this kind of tourism.”
Keisha, who is originally from Port Macquarie, is balancing her part-time role at Whale One with a housekeeping position at Mantra Mooloolaba Beach resort.
She said her Business studies at USC had opened her eyes to the possibilities of innovative eco-tourism projects.
“I’ve really found the area that I want to build a career in,” she said. “From my first subject on sustainable tourism, I was fascinated, and felt very strongly that this was the field for me.
“Visitors are so important to the Sunshine Coast’s economy, but my degree taught me how important it is to ensure the tourism industry does things in sustainable way.”
— Gen Kennedy