A festive-season chat with Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner – Europe and Queensland Agent-General in the UK, Linda Apelt
How is the festive season celebrated in your region, which extends across Europe and into Africa?
The festive season brings joy, light and festivity, especially as the cool winters of the northern hemisphere set in and the year comes to an end. Many of the Judeo-Christian traditions of Christmas have their heritage in the region. This has extended to wider regions we support such as Africa but, as our multicultural and multifaith region expands and evolves, the spirit and values of the season are the most important aspects.
In Europe, ‘Christmas’ lasts much longer than a day. The season stretches across December and into January, incorporating many holy days and festivities. For countries like Germany and Sweden, the season’s main event is Christmas Eve, celebrated with midnight mass and a festive meal. Others focus more on Christmas Day, with gift-giving, feasting and, in the UK, many gathering at 3pm to hear the Queen’s Christmas message. New Year’s Eve and Day are also important – don’t miss Hogmanay in Scotland or eating 12 green grapes at the stroke of midnight in Spain!
What were some standout achievements for your office in 2019?
A highlight was the 2019 Queensland Day Reception, which celebrated the 160th Queensland Day in the presence of Minister Cameron Dick with 350 VIP guests. We were able to showcase Queensland companies such as Mount Uncle Distillery, Great Barrier Beer, Full Circle Fibres and Jewels of Queensland. We also supported 5 successful trade missions to the European market, helped Queensland company Graham’s Natural Alternative crack the UK skincare market, celebrated 2018 Queensland Exporter of the Year Tritium expanding rapidly in Europe, and facilitated a number of investment deals into Queensland. Cultural activities like the Leanne Benjamin ballet recital, which was held in the presence of the Queensland Governor, are also wonderful opportunities to showcase Queensland’s creative industries and create connections with high-level UK guests.
What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
Promoting Queensland’s Hydrogen Strategy to European companies keen to enter or expand their footprint in this new and exciting sector. Supporting Queensland’s 2032 Olympic Games bid, and developing Queensland House as an exciting landing pad for Queensland exporters. And, hopefully, a resolution to Brexit, one way or the other!
Any new year’s message you’d like to share with Queensland exporters?
We’ve enjoyed supporting some fantastic Queensland exporters to successfully enter Europe this year. 2020 is shaping up to be another interesting year, with some potentially significant geopolitical changes likely to present opportunities in Europe for our Queensland exporters. Do contact TIQ Europe if you’d like to know more.