Renaissance Tours is Australia’s leading operator of special interest and cultural tours and cruises in the fields of opera, music, ballet, art, architecture and gardens. The company prides itself on offering Australia’s finest collection of unique, meticulously designed and operated expert-led cultural experiences for the discerning traveller.
The company was founded in 1996 by Hugh Hallard with a tour to the Chicago Lyric Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle for the Patrons and Friends of Opera Australia. Since then, a long-term association has developed between Opera Australia and Renaissance Tours, with well over 120 opera tours arranged to date.
In 1999, the company introduced ballet tours, designed to introduce ballet lovers to the world’s great ballet and dance companies, followed shortly afterwards by a program of music lovers’ tours, featuring performances by the great orchestras, conductors and soloists of the world – all in the company of music experts.
Since 2002, Renaissance Tours has also developed, in partnership with the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales, a very successful specialised program of art, architecture and cultural tours, led by academics from Australian and international universities, curators and staff of the Art Gallery of NSW, and some of the country’s leading art critics.
The company’s tour collection is made complete with a series of garden and short break tours, as well as a number of exclusive river and sea cruises.
Evan Petrelis – Managing Director
Evan joined Renaissance Tours in May 2016 following a long-standing interest in special interest and cultural travel. In October 2017, he acquired the business from founder Hugh Hallard.
Prior to joining Renaissance Tours, he had a successful 20-year career in communications and public relations consulting, including roles in organisations including Airbus, McKinsey & Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and with agencies including Sefiani Communications Group and BWD.
Born and raised in South Africa, he has a Masters degree in translation and interpreting. Apart from his mother tongue, English, he speaks German, French, Portuguese, Greek and Afrikaans.
Fanny Gibert – Product Manager
A French native speaker from Paris, Fanny has been passionate about travel ever since she started travelling with her family as a young child. Since then, she has lived in many different countries and explored every continent except Antarctica (so far). She holds an undergraduate degree in languages and a Master’s degree in tourism. She worked in India as a Branch Office Manager for a travel company for several years and loves traveling in this ‘incredible’ country. Before moving to Australia, she returned to her native France and worked for five years as Asia Product Manager for France’s largest travel group, organising tours throughout Central Asia, the Himalayas and the Indian subcontinent. She likes hiking, experiencing different cultures and tasting exotic new foods.
Giovanna Picoi – Product Manager
With a love of art and travel, Giovanna holds a Masters degree in Fine Arts and a Diploma of Tourism. Living abroad as a child ignited a curiosity for the world and an appreciation of the unique character in each destination. She has travelled throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Her favourite souvenirs have been found scouring antique markets. Experiencing the half-light of Icelandic winters and driving into the unending horizons in the South Gobi Desert have been some of her favourite moments.
Suzana Milosova – Client Services Consultant
Originally from Macedonia, Sue has lived in Sydney for most of her life. With over twenty-five years’ experience in the travel industry, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. A passionate traveller, Sue has spent a lifetime visiting Europe, the USA, South Pacific and Asia and enjoys the different cultures, food and people she has encountered on the road. Sue is a wonderful cook and loves to entertain family and friends.
Danila Checchin – Operations Manager
Born in Ethiopia, and of Italian descent, Danila lived in several countries as a child before settling in Australia. This early experience of travel and cultural immersion ignited her passion for travelling the world after her studies. After a long career with Qantas, Danila decided to pursue her love for travel, culture, history, art, music, and food, and spent some years in Italy working as a tour manager. Since returning to Australia, she has worked as a product manager planning and operating tours in various regions of Oceania, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. At Renaissance Tours she is responsible for the successful operations of tours.
Meg Goyen – Operations Assistant
Meg is a graduate of Western Sydney University, where she gained her Bachelor of Tourism Management. Her studies abroad in the USA fuelled a passion for travel that inspires adventures in new places, and she is also a keen lover of music and sports. Meg joined Renaissance Tours as an intern during her degree, giving her a unique 360-degree perspective on the company that she now brings to her role as Operations Assistant.
Sheridan Packer – Graphic Designer
With over 20 years’ experience in publishing and graphic design, Sheridan loves Flamenco dancing, soccer and archaeology – her interests in the Byzantine Empire piqued after a trip to Turkey. She has snorkelled with sting rays in the Great Barrier Reef, surfed in Biarritz and flown over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon. Inspired by street fashion in New York, Paris and Milan, she enjoys artisan coffee and is happiest with bare feet and salty hair.
Daniel Gao – Finance Manager
Born in China, Daniel arrived in Australia at age 16, where he studied and graduated from UNSW. He started with Renaissance Tours as an intern, and was later offered a permanent position with us – his very first job. He loves to travel, and his favourite sport is Soccer.