Connection Point: Reflecting on the Trade Mission to Australia

Trip to the ‘land down under’ puts emphasis on connectivity, innovation in building world-class cities

Sarah Carabias-Rush, Senior Vice President, International Engagement and Economic Development

I had the opportunity to travel to Australia in June with Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas and Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport board members and senior executives, my counterparts at the Fort Worth Chamber, VisitDallas, and Visit Fort Worth.

This was Mayor Rawlings’ final mission trip with us as he wrapped up his tenure as mayor, and the timing of the trip couldn’t have been better. Just as we arrived, American Airlines and Qantas’ joint business agreement was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, paving the way for more potential flights and new routes between Dallas-Fort Worth and Australia. Australia is Dallas-Fort Worth’s 17th-largest trade partner by volume and 21st-largest trade partner by value. With this announcement, I wouldn’t be surprised to see our trade activity with Australia grow at an even faster rate, not to mention more business opportunities and tourism.

We visited Sydney and Brisbane, promoting the importance of air connectivity; highlighting the growing commercial ties between Australia and the region; and meeting with government officials, business and tourism executives, and other local leaders. Though the topics varied, we focused primarily on entrepreneurship and innovation-minded companies. We also participated and learned from panels such as our roundtable discussion with Australia-based travel companies and events including Vivid Ideas (more on that below).


Here are some of the highlights and my favorite moments of the trip:

  • Exchanging ideas: As construction begins for Sydney’s second airport, we were able to share insights from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s beginnings and its expansions on a visit with The Honorable Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales.
  • Emphasizing connectivity: Mayors Rawlings and Price led a fascinating discussion on connected cities at Vivid Sydney, focusing on transportation and smart city strategies, and how to ensure cities are designed smartly while still fostering true connections. (To learn more about connected- and smart-city strategies in Dallas-Fort Worth, click here.)
  • Improving by listening: In Brisbane, we heard from CEOs on their perceptions of Dallas-Fort Worth in the Australian market through a roundtable discussion.
  • Celebrating women leadership: We witnessed Mayor Clover Moore and Mayor Price, the longest-serving mayors of Sydney and Fort Worth, respectively, meet and were inspired by their leadership.

Looking Ahead

The DRC, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Fort Worth Chamber, VisitDallas, and Visit Fort Worth have begun proposing plans for future missions. We are optimistic that we’ll continue to raise the region’s profile abroad and inform the world about business opportunities in the Dallas Region.

As I look back on this trip, I am reminded of how vital these missions are on celebrating, sharing, and building on our successes. Through these trips, we are able to showcase the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s creating and nurturing environment where businesses, workers, and families can thrive, while figuring out ways to sustain that momentum and strengthen our partnerships regionally and internationally.