No wonder Tourism Australia can’t fill the top job

Morale at Tourism Australia must be rock bottom after the latest blast from Gold Coast Tourism bosses Paul Donovan and Martin Winter.  

This week, the pair told a House of Representatives committee hearing the organisation had no leadership, strategy or direction and had wasted the legacy of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

It’s true the TA has been leaderless since Managing Director Geoff Buckley’s departure in June, with Chairman Rick Allert filling the role of Executive Chairman in the meantime.

Donovan added it didn’t matter how much the new MD wants paying as long as they’re the right person for the job. A cynic could be forgiven for thinking he was talking up the difficulties facing the successful candidate prior to throwing his own hat into the ring.

That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, of course. No matter how much money the Government is prepared to throw at the role, it remains something of a poisoned chalice with a to-do list that might read:

– rebuild shattered confidence of marketing department

– persuade Government to adequately fund new initiatives

– win back market share from cheaper, more accessible rivals during global economic downturn

Even if s/he is successful in attracting more people to Australia in such circumstances, it’s then a dog fight between the State Tourism Organisations to make sure they grab more visits and visitor nights than their rivals.

And guess who’ll get the blame if they fail…

9 thoughts on “No wonder Tourism Australia can’t fill the top job

  • August 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I know it’s a stretch, but if the ATC hiring committee ever works out that the person who finds him/herself managing this particular ‘poisoned chalice’ of a job had better resist his or her bureaucratic tendency to pass on the hard decisions in favour of expensive muddle-headed consultants. Otherwise the fresh approach that’s demanded won’t see the support that’s needed from state, regional and local groups. Brand Australia will go quietly into the night yet again while the usual suspects gripe from the bright sidelines. Show some courage ATC and hire a maverick for a change. Leave the bureaucrats to serve as the middle managers they strive to be and employ a leader who has remarkable experience beyond the closed circle of the tourism/travel rank and file.
    Tom Neal Tacker

  • August 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Andrew McEvoy was a very good guy who was overlooked for the top job. He didn’t see eye to eye with then minister Fran Bailey. Wasn’t given the job. So he moved across to SATC and guess what? SA is one of the few states growing marketshare at the moment….

  • August 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Glass Houses!

    After 17 years of working with the Australian Hotels Association in 4 different jurisdictions including nationally, and seeing the politics and challegnes of Tourism 1st hand, its bitterly dissapointing to see such a lack of leadership by our National Tourism marketing body…

    Who is to blame? we are, the industry.
    We get the political and industry leadership we expect and demand.
    We get the outcomes we rerquest and provide input into.
    And we are responsible for our own future.

    As one of Australia’s most dynamic, rewarding and exciting industries we can do better that this!

  • August 15, 2009 at 11:34 am

    “Keep it Simple” works in hospitality -tourism
    -We need an international travel add that “flies around Oz” with a tantalizing quick look at the marvels on offer.- -with music to suit the clip- and a few words from Hugh Jackman at the end.
    -There are billions of people in the world-we just need to attract a few.

  • September 3, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Perhaps its time to re-ignite ‘the worlds best job campaign’ ?

  • September 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I conducted research into conusmer behaviour of prospective candidates for study in Australia, from Turkey and Central Eastern Europe. Fascinating, much ignorance of Australia while awareness came from imagery (film, tv, music etc.), word of mouth and internet. I am not aware of what market research has conducted, has it ever been made available in public domain?

    Complained directly to then Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Tim Fischer about “Where the bloody hell are you” campaign, with both replying that it was a bipartisan decision (so that’s alright then?) and former then stating (later) that he never agreed with it?

    As another comment infers, promotion of tourism and others activities in Australia are hamstrung by states, and expectations that a government agency can create a campaign that will solve everything. Personally I think TA should merely be facilitating links between providers onshore with domestic and international tourists/agents/airlines etc. for virtual marketing, bringing state websites under (why not include education, migration, investment etc. also as main Australia website internationally?)

    One positive from TA has been the introduction of more widespread virtual presence (fraction of the cost of physical eventsand related channels) in diverse markets using existing resources, i.e. offshore agents who have been marketing and promoting Australia for many years (through other languages), through Aussie Specialist program, and Australian Tourism Data Warehouse ATDW online marketing ekit

    The ATDW kit has already been given accolades internationally as best tourism marketing practice to be emulated……but Australian tourism and education industries still avoid internet for marketing and promtions, in preference to offshore physical events? Wjy would this be so? Of course nothing to do with rorting travel opportunities…..

    My concern in Australia is that operators look up to tourism and other statutory authorities to conduct international promotions and activity on ttheir behalf, but same bodies often seem more focussed upon self interest at the corporate level e.g. AWB…..

  • September 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    The biggest problem we have in tourism right now is that we “the industry” allow the government to dictate how and when the money is spent. We need industry experienced professionals, from a cross section of the tourism industry, not bureaucratic morons in cohorts with coke snorting marketing gurus, wasting millions on a free ride to nowhere…wake up people, because you’re not going to change anything and you’ll all be wasting your time worrying about the fact that anything will change!!!

  • September 24, 2009 at 12:11 am

    The job should go to panel of super marketers, that are able to market australia not only to the world but the universe. We dont know what is out there, so i think we should be the first to market to other planets. just my 2 cents


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