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.
Bonnie has spent nearly half her life in the tourism industry. She has a passion for Business Tourism events and has spent most of her career working as PCO and Marketing Consultant for business events.
Bonnie is the Principal of Peppermint Solutions, which has been providing conference and event management services, designing inspiring incentive itineraries and going that extra mile in destination management for the past 14 years. We have a successful track record for providing a personalised and professional service. It is a boutique consultancy that takes on work strategically. Bonnie has spent the past 16 years in the South West working within regional tourism and has been on the Western Australian Tourism Awards judge’s panel for the past two years.
Guy Alessandro is the Managing Director of Alessandro & Associates, providers of consultative senior management services and skills to the tourism, events and hospitality industries. Guy has over 35 years experience across a diversity of sectors within these industries.
The company’s services include (but are not limited to) project, relief and event management services, education and training, consultative management, and specialist sales and marketing services.
More recently Guy was involved directly in the industry as Conventions and Events Sales Manager at Burswood Entertainment Complex.
Guy has a vast array of management experiences across restaurants and catering, stadium services, 5 star hotels, regional tourism and management across many levels of the industry.
Between his personal company and his management experience, Guy has had association with some iconic brands including Sheraton Perth Hotel, Delaware North Australia, Perth Arena, Mille Café, Perth Entertainment Centre, His Majesty’s Theatre and the WACA.
Marketing Strategist and Managing Director of One Eighty Marketing, Kristy Bailey has more than 18 years’ experience in strategic marketing, communications and PR within the tourism industry.
Kristy holds a range of qualifications including a Diploma in Tourism and a Post Graduate Marketing Diploma and is currently completing her Masters in Marketing. She has represented businesses from all aspects of the tourism industry including retail and wholesale travel companies, conference and incentive houses, cruise operators, tour operators and luxury resorts. Writing and delivering training packages on tourism related topics, Kristy also has assisted in the personal development and education of those entering the tourism industry.
Kristy holds membership with several professional organisations including Skal International and the Australian Marketing Institute where she is a recognised Certified Practicing Marketer (CPM).
Her work has ensured growth for a plethora of businesses and she has written more than 12 successful tourism awards submissions that have received both state and national recognition.
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 3rd year as a judge for the WA Tourism Awards.
Richard has been involved in the events and exhibition industry for more than 30 years, starting in 1981 in a part time capacity, then full time since 1987. He created CMS Events in 1993 and founded the original WA Wine & Food Festival staged at Burswood in 1997. Overall he has been involved in more than 150 events in the state. Main event projects currently managed and owned involve the wine, food and tourism industries.
Main events currently managed include the Wine and Food Events WA series – UnWined Subiaco, Sunset Wine and City Wine along with Taste Great Southern and the Perth Gluten Free Food Expo.
He served on the board of the Perth Convention Bureau for 15 years till 2005, as a Director and Chairman and was awarded with Life Membership in 2006. Industry Positions & Boards include – Past Director, Chairman, WA Rugby League; Past Director & Chairman, Perth Convention Bureau; Past President, Lakelands Country Club; Tourism Advisory Consultative Committee, Edith Cowan University; and an Annual Awards Judge, Tourism Council WA.
Steve Crawford is currently the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Visitor Communications Manager.
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 an executive member of the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism, a member of Edith Cowan University’s Tourism and Hospitality Consultative Committee and a board member of the Curtin Business School Marketing Advisory Board and ex officio board member of Australia’s Coral Coast.
His qualifications include undergraduate degrees in geography, social anthropology, regional planning and business as well as a Master of Business and Doctor of Business Administration.
Steve is an associate of the Australian Marketing Institute and a Certified Practicing Marketer.
Ian has spent more than 30 years working in the WA tourism industry, during which time he has been a board member for Tourism Council WA and was instrumental in establishing tourism accreditation.
Ian was an operator for many years, running Australian Pinnacle Tours, which received several WA Tourism Awards. He joined Rottnest Express in 2011 as Managing Partner and now owns a BP Service Station in Broome, which was awarded the Best of Broome Customer Service Award in 2013 and 2014.
Professor Ross Dowling OAM is a passionate advocate of tourism in Western Australia. He is Foundation Professor of Tourism, School of Business & Law, Edith Cowan University. Internationally he is an Advisor, UNESCO Global Geoparks; Member, World Commission on Protected Areas; Co-founder, International Cruise Research Society; Board Member, Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation, and Co-founder of the Global Geotourism Conferences.
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. In Western Australia he is Chair of both the Cruise Western Australia Committee and the Great South West Edge National Landscape Steering Committee. In addition he is a Board Member of Australia’s Coral Coast, Life Member of FACET, and Council Member, Royal Automobile Club. He is a Director of Ideology Pty Ltd which provides advice for the tourism industry in a number of countries around the world.
Robyn Fenech is a Bunbury-based tourism consultant specialising in regional tourism planning and development. Her business Edge Tourism and Marketing provides a wide range of services to local and State government, NFP’s and the private sector.
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 large regional tourism associations in WA and prior to that was general manager of Hobart’s CBD marketing organisation.
Brooke has more than 15 years’ experience in the tourism industry in Australia and Europe. She has worked in a range of hospitality roles across regional WA, as an operations manager at Boat Torque Cruises, as well as retail travel, destination development and marketing at Tourism WA. Brooke currently delivers Tourism WA’s cooperative marketing program with key partners such as Qantas, Helloworld and Expedia. She also plays a role in the development and implementation of Tourism WA’s domestic brand advertising campaigns and represents the agency on the executive committee of the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism Inc. (FACET).
Graham is recognised as one of Australasia’s foremost thought leaders on Service Design, Customer Experience and Relationship Marketing. Graham holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Curtin University with a major in Tourism Management and is a Certified Professional Speaker (CSP) with Professional Speakers Australia. He is currently State President of the WA Chapter.
Commencing his business consultancy in 1986, he continues to work throughout the Asia Pacific region guiding organisations and coaching individuals on growing their business by achieving greater clarity of future, and designing innovative customer experience and customer relationship management and marketing strategies.
Nerreda Hillier’s tourism career spans more than 20 years with the majority of that time being spent in Western Australia, but she has also spent time managing a tourism operation in South East Asia. Nerreda is currently the General Manager for Broome, Kimberley & Beyond, a specialist wholesaler based in Perth.
Prior to this role, Nerreda held numerous roles across the tourism industry including Manager of the Broome Visitor Centre, Regional Manager with Tourism WA, and Project Manager with Australia’s North West Tourism. Nerreda has worked with a range of tourism products and assisted with start-up businesses and Indigenous tourism product development.
Nerreda has a Diploma in Tourism and is passionate about Western Australia and the tourism experiences it offers. Nerreda has been a judge previously and is looking forward to judging for the 2016 WA Tourism Awards.
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.
Jasmine has more than ten years’ experience in destination promotion, marketing and promotions, event and sponsorship management, and public relations. Jasmine is currently on maternity leave from her role as CEO of the regional tourism organisation, Australia’s South West.
Previous to this she worked as the Marketing Manager for the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association. In her role with Australia’s South West, Jasmine has guided the organisation through the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan, extensive review of marketing activities and an overhaul of the organisation’s membership structure.
Jasmine has sat on the TCWA Board of Directors, the Great South West Edge National Landscape committee, Margaret River Regional Brand, Warren Blackwood Strategic Alliance, Bunbury-Wellington Tourism Working Group, South West Cruise Alliance, and Great Southern Tourism Advisory Committee. In 2009 Jasmine was the recipient of the Sir David Brand Young Achiever Medal and has represented WA as a state finalist in the Len Taylor Young ATEC Award for Excellence and Australian Regional Tourism Network Regional Awards.
Graham is currently a full time lecturer in the School of Business at Edith Cowan University. His previous positions have included Manager of Finance & Administration at Melbourne Airport and Chief Executive Officer of Perth Airport, a position he held for 13 years. In addition, he has been Executive Chairman of the Perth Convention Bureau, Chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (WA) and a member of the Executive Committee of PATA’s international board. He has also served for several years as a director on the board of Tourism Council Western Australia.
Graham is a member of CPA Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Business and recently completed a Master of Business Administration at Edith Cowan University with a specialisation in Tourism and Hospitality.
Joan has over 50 years experience in the Travel and Tourism Industry in Western Australia. She has extensive Managerial experience with both Australian and International Airlines, Travel Agencies and the Vocational Education and Training sector.
Joan has represented Western Australia at national level developing and implementing vocational training programs for the Travel, Tourism and Events industry. She also worked with industry leaders in Western Australia to develop and deliver specific training programs with an emphasis on enhancing the tourism experience. These programs were delivered throughout all regional and metropolitan areas. Joan has extensive experience in project management, organisational change, financial and budget management.
Joan has held executive committee positions with Pacific Asia Travel Association (WA Chapter), National President Australian TAFE Tourism and Hospitality Educators Association, member of Tourism Western Australia’s International Marketing Committee and China Ready Working Group. She was a judge and Chair of the judging panel for GWN Top Tourism Town Awards before becoming a judge with the WA Tourism Awards.
Paula has been an avid supporter of the tourism industry for more than 20 years.
With a passion for excellence in tourism product delivery, Paula has led a number of businesses to tourism awards success, including managing Exmouth Backpackers (Budget Accommodation Hall of Fame entrant, 1999) and managing visitor services for Fremantle Prison, (Major Tourist Attraction Hall of Fame entrant, 2010).
Paula was previously active in driving regional tourism as Gascoyne Regional Manager for Tourism WA, which included representing tourism interests on the Shark Bay World Heritage Property Community Consultative Committee. She also worked on specific industry segment development, through her role as Niche Product Coordinator for Tourism WA. In recent times, as Director Business Services for the State Heritage Office, her focus has been on heritage tourism.
Paula holds a Bachelor of Business (Travel Management). In recent years she was a mentor for the Young Australian Tourism Association. She currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism (FACET) and the Finance Audit and Risk Committee for Leadership WA, of which she is a Fellow.
Paula is looking forward to supporting tourism excellence through her new role as an awards judge.
After 25 years as CEO of the National Trust of Western Australia, Tom decided to voluntarily retire and was invited and accepted a two year position of special consultant to the National Trust. Tom also accepted an honorary Research Fellow Position at the University of Western Australia to assist in the training and development of the Masters Programme in cultural heritage.
He was invited and accepted the job as CEO of the National Trusts of Australia, which consists of bringing together the eight National Trusts in Australia to develop effective and efficient national programmes and to assist and support the Council of National Trusts in influencing decision- makers about the social, environmental and economic benefits of conserving, interpreting and celebrating Australia's cultural and natural heritage.
He is currently a member of the national Executive of Australia ICOMOS and due to his long interest and passion in the trails industry, the Patron of Trails in Western Australia. He has tertiary degrees in the sciences and education and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Management and the National Trust in Western Australia. He is also a member of the International National Trusts Executive Committee and has a lifelong interest in cultural tourism.
Michelle Sidebottom is an experienced consultant and project manager specialising in the sectors of tourism, hospitality, recreation, tourist parks, lifestyle villages, training and workforce development. Michelle has worked extensively in hotels, resorts, tourist parks and other hospitality/tourism/events operations and organisations across Australia, Malaysia and Japan over the past 25 years.
Holding qualifications in tourism, business, marketing, tourist park management and training & assessment, current key roles include: Director of Breakaway Tourism Pty Ltd; Principal Consultant of Breakaway Business Solutions; Senior Project Consultant at Brighthouse; Director Special Projects at The Cantillon Institute; and Project Manager for multiple new tourism and lifestyle developments in Western Australia.
Michelle has been a judge with the WA Tourism Awards in 2009-2012, 2014-2015 and is delighted to return to the panel in 2016.
Spending the past 27 years in the hospitality industry as a qualified chef, Robert specialises in operations in all areas of hospitality, tourism and mining and construction camps. He is currently the Managing Director of Forte Hospitality as well as Chairman of the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC). Robert will continue to be a key advocate in driving Aboriginal tourism to the next level by ensuring governments at all levels and other stakeholders work with the industry to create a sustainable future, and will oversee the daily operations of WAITOC.
Bernard Whewell commenced his career in retail travel in 1985 before working in tourism development with what was then the Western Australia Tourism Commission.
In 1997, recognising that travellers also required an avenue to easily purchase inspiring tourism product in niche areas, Bernard founded Broome & The Kimberley Holidays, an award-winning wholesale travel company based in Broome, Western Australia, which Bernard operated for 18 years.
His ability to identify business opportunities for tourism operators, including operational development, aviation route development and destination marketing led to greater accessibility to the regions for travel consumers; the legacy of which exists today with the Kimberley being one of the most recognised of Western Australia’s tourism destinations.
Bernard’s reputation of providing sound industry knowledge based on extensive experience, has seen him hold board positions on a number of tourism organisations including the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Australia’s Coral Coast, The Kimberley Tourism Association and the Broome Gateway Committee and he sites a passion for seeing tourism businesses flourish as a result of his mentorship, as his greatest motivation.
Bernard is also a judge for the National Travel Industry Awards and is the Director Tourism Development with Distinctly Travel Management.