Judging for the WA Tourism Awards is conducted by a panel of industry peers appointed by Tourism Council WA.
All judges provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis and are educated in the entire judging process including submission assessments, scoring guidelines, undertaking site inspections and providing adequate feedback to entrants.
The objective of the Awards judging process is to fairly and independently evaluate each entry through the formalised and professional assessment process.
The appointment of judges is designed to be completely transparent and all judges must meet strict criteria as well as be representative of the tourism industry. They possess a strong knowledge of the operations of the industry and will be, or have been, involved in tourism or a similar service at a senior management level.
Each submission is assessed by three different judges. The final score is determined by the aggregate of the three scores.
Professional auditors oversee the WA Tourism Awards judging process. Their role is to audit submissions for compliance, audit score sheets and check conflicts of interest and confidentiality declarations.
Please find below a list and short biography of our judges.
Mark Abercromby shares a passion for the travel and tourism industry, based on rewarding engagement and many years’ professional experience spanning both private and public sectors.
He is the former WA Branch Manager for Australian Tourism Export Council (2014-2016) and has presented several KITE and Export Ready workshops and seminars on behalf of ATEC in Perth and regional Western Australia.
Mark was a member of the WA Tourism Awards judging panel from 2012 to 2015 and returned to the panel in 2017 and is one of the WA representatives on the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards judging panel.
Mark’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing and Management; Post Graduate Diploma in Business (e-Commerce) plus a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
Bonnie has spent nearly half her life in the tourism industry. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Tourism Management at Edith Cowan before going on to work with leading PCO company, Congress West. She spent the next five years gaining valuable skills and experience in all aspects of conference management and refining her marketing skills.
When an opportunity too good to refuse came up in Bunbury, she made the move south and went on to set up the first conference and event consultancy in the region and has seen the industry grow and develop in the past 19 years. During that time she has worked in regional tourism and maintains links with the key local tourism bodies while her event management company goes from strength to strength.
Julian Barry is the Regional Manager Western Australia for Qantas. Julian has worked for Qantas for more than 20 years where he has held various positions both within Australia and overseas.
He has worked with regional tourism authorities, travel wholesalers, and peak bodies to promote destination tourism, including Gold Coast Tourism, the PNG Tourist Authority, Tourism NT, and Tourism WA. Julian sat on the Executive Committee of Tourism Top End from 2010 to 2013, and was previously a judge of the Tourism NT Brolga Awards. This is Julian’s fourth year as a judge for the WA Tourism Awards.
Julie has had a diverse career in public relations and marketing, running her own business, then working for the State Government and in the private sector. In 2011, Julie joined Perth Airport to manage the communications and marketing around the $1 billion redevelopment. In addition to this, in 2014, she became Manager of Corporate Affairs with responsibility for internal and external communications, community engagement, media, sponsorships and events. During this time, she developed an extensive network across the aviation and tourism sectors.
With the redevelopment nearing completion, Julie retired in mid-2016 to pursue her passion for travel and her commitment to promoting Western Australia as an outstanding tourist destination, and provide part-time consultancy services to the education and tourism sectors.
Tara Colyer-Long is a Digital Project Manager in the Strategy, Brand and Marketing Services Division at Tourism Western Australia. She currently manages the content on westernaustralia.com in 6 different languages including WA’s content contribution to the National Australian Tourism Data Warehouse.
Tara is an experienced digital marketing and communications professional with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel and tourism industry (with a strong government background) and is skilled in digital strategy, content marketing, SEO, user experience, integrated marketing and advertising.
Steve Crawford is currently the Visitor Communications Manager Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
Prior to joining the Department he had more than twenty-five year’s senior management experience with the Western Australian Tourism Commission (Tourism Western Australia) and Rottnest Island Authority. A past National Tourism Award recipient, Steve has a wealth of tourism industry experience in such areas as tourism destination planning, market research, trade marketing, tourism development and business enterprise development. He has represented Western Australia on numerous national taskforces and committees in such areas as Indigenous tourism, climate change, ecotourism, tourism planning and cruise shipping.
Steve is currently Deputy Chair, Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism, a member of Edith Cowan University’s Tourism and Hospitality Consultative Committee, board member of the Curtin Business School Marketing Advisory Board and ex officio board member of Australia’s Coral Coast.
Professor Ross Dowling OAM is Foundation Professor of Tourism, School of Business & Law, Edith Cowan University and he is a passionate advocate of tourism in Western Australia. He is Chair of both Cruise Western Australia and the Great South West Edge National Landscape. In addition he is Vice President, Royal Automobile Club; Board Member, Australia’s Coral Coast; Member, Conservation and Parks Commission; Ambassador, WA Parks Foundation; and Life Member of FACET.
In Australia he is Co-founder and Life Member of Ecotourism Australia, Advisor to the Australian Cruise Association, and Member, Geotourism Standing Committee, Geological Society of Australia. Internationally he is an Advisor, UNESCO Global Geoparks; Member, World Commission on Protected Areas; Co-founder, International Cruise Research Society; and Co-founder of the Global Geotourism Conferences. He is a Director of Ideology Pty Ltd which undertakes tourism development and training in a number of countries around the world.
Brendan has over 32 years of Hospitality, Tourism and Events experience. Brendan started at the bottom and worked his way up to Senior Management positions with a determination to make a difference. To attain the promotions needed for advancement, Brendan travelled to the Pilbara and assisted in the opening of the Karratha International Hotel and worked in the Northern Territory at both the Darwin and Alice Springs Hotel and Casinos.
For 20 years, Brendan was in Management starting as a Restaurant Manager progressing to Food and Beverage Director and achieving the position of General Manager of the Margaret River Hotel and the Grand Chancellor. Brendan was also the Manager at the Royal Perth Yacht Club. Brendan has been an Advanced Skills lecturer with the North Metropolitan TAFE in Joondalup since 2011 and is responsible for the delivery of the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management.
Brendan recognised the need to formalise his on the job learning and now has Diplomas in Business Administration, Leadership and Management and a dual Diploma in Training. Other qualifications include a Bachelor of Business and Advanced Diploma of Hospitality. Brendan has also been a consultant to the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia for their Awards for Excellence for the last 4 years.
Extensive travel over the last 10 years has enabled Brendan to acquire a vast knowledge of the trends in the industry throughout Australia.
Robyn Fenech is a Bunbury based regional tourism and economic development consultant. Work has been undertaken in every region of WA, providing an understanding of diverse tourism industry opportunities and challenges, and regional economic development in general.
Before establishing Edge Tourism and Marketing, Robyn was general manager of two regional tourism associations in WA and prior to that general manager of Hobart’s CBD marketing organisation. She is Chair of the Bunbury Development Committee and a Board member for regional film festival CinefestOz.
Paul has been involved in the tourism industry in Perth for more than 25 years. Highlights of his career include the successful management buy-out of Adventure World in 1990, founding Board member of the Australian Amusement, Leisure & Recreation Association, past Chairman of the Association of Perth Attractions and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Tourism Committee. Paul also chaired the South West Tourism Marketing Committee.
After obtaining a Master of Business Degree from Murdoch University in 2000, he went on to manage Hotham Valley Tourist Railway before taking up the position as CEO of the Swan Bells Foundation in 2001. He retired in early 2013, but has continued to take a keen interest in the tourism industry.
Dave Humphreys has worked in the live entertainment and venue business his whole career and is currently Perth Arena’s head of commercial, sales and marketing with AEG Ogden.
Dave is a champion of the venue industry’s role in creating state-wide economic benefit through tourism and events.
In its five years of operation, nearly 15% of Perth Arena’s fans are from out of town with many traveling from Asia and Europe for the purposes of attending an event. Half of those visitors then travel on to regional Western Australia.
The team at Perth Arena are working with partners and industry to increase the audience from markets abroad. Dave aims to grow visitation at all events as a catalyst for long-lasting benefit to the state and to create a more vibrant and exciting destination.
Marilyn Kestel has been involved with the caravan industry in Western Australia since 1968 and is currently part owner and director of Riverside Gardens Estate, a 300 bay park home park, one of the first of its kind to be established in Western Australia.
As a pioneer of the evolving caravan industry, Marilyn has gathered a wealth of hands on experience through part ownership of a number of tourist parks in Western Australia. At the height of her career she was involved in the management of five caravan parks and as well as the development and planning of three new tourist parks, Plantation Caravan Park, Carnarvon, Palm Grove Caravan Park, Broome and Ningaloo Caravan Park in Exmouth.
All daily operational systems and administration were operated from Central Caravan Park in Perth, which was at the forefront of many changes in the industry. The introduction of computerised booking systems saw a change in the industry and Marilyn and husband David were at the forefront of the Top Tourist Park chain in WA
In 1997 Marilyn was appointed Manager of Maui Motor homes in Western Australia and established depots for Perth, Broome and Alice Springs finally overseeing the merger of Maui and Brits. Two years later she became Manager of the Kea Campers depot in Perth and Broome and retired from the motor home industry in 2006.
Marilyn’s contribution to the judging panel is a wealth of experience working in the caravan industry and meeting the expectations of travellers that expects the highest form of hospitality and facilities.
Adam Levin is the General Manager, Marketing and Customer Experience at Perth Airport.
A clear strategic imperative for airports is around rethinking the customer experience, and Adam is currently focused on enhancing the total airport experience in a customer centric manner. He is also responsible for marketing, digital and customer research supporting the business objectives of the Aviation, Retail, Ground Transport and Property teams. Adam’s focus has always been on helping organizations improve return on marketing investment and increase profits through the development, implementation and evaluation of smarter, customer-centric, data-driven marketing activity and automated customer management strategies. Drawing on this background, Adam is also leading a digital transformation programme for the Airport.
Prior to his current role at Perth Airport, Adam has managed multi-disciplinary marketing, consulting and analytical teams. He has a Master’s of Business Administration from Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom.
Peta has over 35 years in the tourism industry. Peta’s has operated a tourism consultancy business since 2008. She has also undertaken a range of tourism, economic development and industry development positions and contracts including City of Vincent, City of Subiaco and Museums Australia WA. She spent over 10 years as the Tourism Development Manager for Perth’s Eastern Region working across six Local Government Councils. She was also the Executive Officer for the Swan Valley Tourism Council where she managed the region’s major events such as Spring in the Valley and Taste of the Valley and also the setup of the Council’s first Visitor Centre and Administrative Office. Peta had 8 years in hospitality management throughout Western Australia for the Swan Hotel Group opening the first stage of Observation City Resort Hotel and 3 years resort management experience in various locations in Europe. Tourism training experience includes over 3 years training and university lecturing for the Northern Territory Tourism Training Council and Northern Territory University as well as Corporate Sales Manager for Hyatt Regency Perth.
Peta has a special interest in Nature Based Tourism and was on TWA’s Advisory Group for over 5 years and a board member for the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco–Tourism for the past 15 years. Peta has extensive experience in the development and delivery of marketing, economic and business development strategies for nature based trails and the communities in their location and is a member of WA’s Trails Reference Group.
Tracy’s tourism career spans almost three decades of promoting, utilizing and experiencing Western Australia’s tourism product portfolio across the State from top to bottom in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Destination marketing, product development and public relations roles with the Western Australian Tourism Commission, Perth Convention Bureau and as principal of Oyster Destination & Incentive Management Company have involved working cooperatively with regional tourism organisations, tour operators and wholesalers, and the media both at home and abroad.
A Perth-based consultancy with a state-wide focus, Oyster DMC has serviced the local, interstate and international corporate tourism markets with a broad range of multinational clients representing various industry sectors.
Tracy holds a Bachelor of Business (Tourism) from Edith Cowan University, and is delighted to return to the Judge’s Panel for the third time.
For well over 30 years Barry had a long and fulfilling career with Tourism WA, where he was lucky enough to travel extensively across the length and breadth of WA. His time also saw him involved in developing new tourism product while working as the Goldfields Regional Manager and worked with both domestic and international marketing teams to maximise the exposure for WA and the many amazing tourism assets the state has. Barry remains passionate about WA and what we have to offer the world from a business, sporting and tourism perspective.
Tourism Management Professional and Managing Director of Page One Tourism Solutions, Emma Page has more than 15 years’ experience working in the tourism, hospitality and event management industries. Emma is an award-winning tourism leader and the previous General Manager of Tourism Council WA. She holds a range of qualifications including a Bachelor of Environmental Science majoring in tourism and indigenous studies, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Lead Auditor in Environmental Management Systems.
Jim Sharp is the former Director General of the Department of Parks and Wildlife having retired in 2017 after 35 years involved in managing most of Western Australia’s magnificent marine and terrestrial areas. This also included 12 years as Director of National Parks. Jim’s career has been characterised by a passionate commitment to creating opportunities for people to engage in high quality experiences in natural areas to both ensure a sustainable tourist industry as well as a constituency for their conservation.