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 volunteer 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 following a list and short bio of our judges.
Eddie Watling – Chair of Judges
Eddie has had more than 40 years in the tourism industry with both the government and the private sector. This includes 15 years with the Department of Tourism/WA Tourism Commission in the areas of finance, marketing and development and as the inaugural General Manager of the Tourism Commission. Eddie later worked for 6 years as consultant to the Minister for Tourism and is now in his 15th year as a founding Director of the firm Tourism Co-ordinates.
Eddie is also currently a member and Deputy Chairman of the Western Australian Liquor Commission. Eddie has been a WA Tourism Awards judge and Qantas Australian Tourism Awards judge for the last three years. He is currently in his third year in the role of Chair of Judges.
His past service to the industry includes: Board member of the Australian Tourism Research Institute; Board member and Treasurer of the Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation; Board member Tourism Council Australia (WA); Member, Pacific Division, Pacific Asia Travel Association; Member, International Advisory Council, Pacific Asia Travel Association; Chairman and Executive Board Member, Pacific Asia Travel Association WA Chapter; Chairman, School of Marketing and Tourism Consultative Committee, Edith Cowan University; Member Board of Directors, Perth Convention Bureau; Member Board of Management, Tourism Industry Training Committee; Member of State Government International Relations Committee; Member, Perth Airport Facilitation Committee; Deputy Chairman, Department of Transport (WA) Commercial Passenger Vessels Advisory Committee; Member, Department of Conservation and Environment (WA) Tourism Industry Reference Group; Member of Western Australian Inter-Departmental Aviation Group; Member of National Tourism Aviation Group.
Eddie was the recipient of a Meritorious Award in 2012 recognising his 40 years of service to the tourism industry.
Owens’s career in Tourism and Hospitality spans 30 years in Australia and overseas. Early career roles include: General Manager Four Seasons Alice Springs (NT) – a NT Tourism Award winning hotel. Owen has worked in all states as a Hotel General Manager and now calls Perth home. Career highlights include GM Radisson Observation City Hotel (WA Tourism Award Winner), Chairman Perth Convention Bureau, GM Seashells Hospitality Group (Scarborough) – a WA and National Tourism Award winner – Deluxe Accommodation.
Owen has consulted to tourism property development projects, assisted operators with business plans and is now a Director of his own Financial Planning Practice in Perth. 2013 will be Owens’ second year as a WA Tourism awards judge.
Dr Ross Dowling
Dr Ross Dowling is a passionate advocate of Tourism in Western Australia. He is Foundation Professor of Tourism in the Faculty of Business & Law at Edith Cowan University. Internationally he is an Advisor, UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks, Executive Board Member of the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization, Co-founder, International Cruise Research Society, and Co-founder of the Global Geotourism Conferences.
In Australia he is Co-founder and Executive Director of Ecotourism Australia; Deputy Chair, Australia’s Geoparks Network; and Advisor to Cruise Down Under. 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 as well as a Council Member of the Royal Automobile Club and a Commissioner with the Conservation Commission. He is a Director of Ideology Pty Ltd which provides advice for the tourism industry in a number of countries around the world.
Mark Abercromby has enjoyed a successful career in the travel and tourism industry in both private and public sectors, spanning over 32 years.
Mark’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing and Management and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business, e-Commerce. Mark is the current President of Skal International Perth
Mark started at the WA Visitor Centre in Melbourne, before heading to Geraldton as Regional Manager, Mid West, then culminating his time with Tourism WA as Market Development Manager, NZ, based in Auckland.
In 1990 Mark joined Great Aussie Holidays and returned to Perth as Groups Manager, before his appointment as General Manager Product and worked with the team to develop their National domestic wholesale range plus dedicated programmes for Tourism WA, Tourism Victoria, Tourism NSW and Skywest Holidays. Mark also managed significant inbound tour series.
Mark joined RAC WA in 2006 as Product Manager, Travel & Tourism managing product and strategic development before being appointed Manager Tourism Services at RAC Travel in 2011. In 2012 Mark branched out and is now Principal of tourism consultancy business Abercromby & Associates and enjoys sharing his passion for the travel and tourism industry.
Mark is passionate about Western Australia and is honoured to be one of the judges for the Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards.
Brian Price joined the travel and tourism industry in 1968 with Trans Australia Airlines. After an eventful 19 years at the airline holding various marketing and operations positions in 4 states he moved to Queensland to become the Director Marketing for Tourism Queensland, developing the “beautiful one day perfect the next” campaign
After 5 years in Queensland Brian returned to WA as Director International Marketing for WATC. responsible for opening new offices in Asia and Europe as well as liaising with International airlines worldwide to increase capacity to Perth and open new routes. This resulted in several new airlines operating to Perth at that time and new routes operated by existing online carriers
He accepted the position of Director Marketing for SATC in Adelaide and at completion of 2 terms joined Adelaide Hills Tourism as CEO.
Subsequently Brian returned to WA to Bunbury as the CEO of Tourism Bunbury
Brian now runs a marketing consultancy part time and sits on a number of boards in the Southwest in commerce and transport. He fills the role of Returning Officer for Local and State elections and is a liaison officer for the electorate of Forrest in the Federal election arena.
Steve Crawford is currently leading the Department of Environment and Conservation’s tourism and marketing program. Steve has a wealth of tourism industry experience in such areas as tourism destination planning, research, marketing, product development and business enterprise development.
He has represented Western Australia on numerous national taskforces and committees in such areas as Indigenous tourism, backpacking, ecotourism, cruise shipping and climate change. In addition he has commercial business experience in tourism. His special interests are in remote area tourism development, particularly nature based tourism.
Steve has a strong interest in promoting the advancement to tourism education having advised numerous academic institutions on tourism related courses and degrees. He is a past lecturer at Notre Dame, Edith Cowan, Murdoch and Curtin Universities.
He is currently a member of the Curtin Business School Marketing Advisory Board, Chair of Edith Cowan University’s Tourism and Hospitality Program Consultative Review Committee and an Executive Board Member of the Forum Advocating Cultural and EcoTourism (FACET). Steve is a past recipient of a National Tourism Award.
Laurie O’Meara was born in Kununoppin in 1938 and grew up on the family farm at Trayning in the wheatbelt. He commenced a twenty year career in local government at Bencubbin in 1961 before moving to Kojonup, Kalamunda and Swan. He left local government when appointed chair of the W A Planning Board in 1981.
Laurie and his family entered the tourism industry in 1989 when they took on management of the city hotel now called the Emerald. With his wife Marlene, he operated the Emerald until May, 2008 when the property was sold. Laurie became involved in industry politics and chaired the Tourism Council for six years before being appointed deputy chair of the W A Tourism Commission in 2002, a position he held until September 2008. During this time he was involved in the establishment of the National Tourism Accreditation Program, the goal of which is to ensure the maintenance of high standards of tourism and hospitality product and service. He was appointed to the Rottnest Island Authority in 2000 and has been its chairman since 2004.
Laurie represented tourism as a member of the board of the Perth International Arts Festival for six years until April 2009.
For these efforts he was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002, the Sir David Brand Medal in 2006 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 Queens Birthday honours. His efforts were recognised at a national level when, at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Melbourne in 2008, he was awarded the “Outstanding Contribution by an Individual (National)”
Justin Vaughan commenced in the role of Director Executive and Strategic Services for Tourism WA in September 2012. Prior to that he spent a total of eight and a half years working in a range of government relations, tourism strategy and aviation development positions at Tourism NT. While there he developed the Territory’s aviation strategy, secured a number of new air services to Darwin, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (Uluru), and brokered significant global cooperative marketing campaigns in support of the new flights. He also devised and led a number of important research and strategy projects including an increased focus on Asian markets and implementation of the first air charter program from Hong Kong. Justin has also previously worked for Tourism Queensland in aviation and Ministerial liaison roles, and has participated on a number of national committees and government working groups. Justin has a Masters degree from Deakin University and a Bachelor of Science degree from James Cook University.
Richard, through CMS Events, has been long established in the events industry in Western Australia, specialising in exhibitions and major events. He has managed and operated significant events in Western Australia under the CMS banner after starting out in the industry in 1981 on a part time basis then full time since 1987.Main event projects currently managed involve the wine & food industries, tourism and business events.
Richard has been involved in, and staged, over 140 events for more than 25 years at a range of levels. He has also served in a number of industry positions & boards including: Past Director & Chairman of Perth Convention Bureau; Past President, Lakelands Country Club; Director, WA Rugby League; and Tourism Advisory Panel for Edith Cowan University.
Paul Jarvis took up the role of Manager Corporate Affairs at Perth Airport in April 2013 after a six year career as a senior government adviser to the Ministers for Sport and Recreation, Racing and Gaming, Local Government, Youth and Multicultural Affairs in the Barnett and Carpenter Governments. Prior to working in politics he enjoyed a ten year career as a journalist working for Rural Press and West Australian newspapers covering areas as diverse as politics, motoring, tractor reviewing and tourism. Married with three children he and his family are enthusiastic adventure tourists with a passionate love of the West Australian landscape.
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 commenced work with the newly established Bunbury Meeting Management and successfully delivered the largest conference the area had seen with 500 international delegates, over 40 speakers, 4 social events, tours and field trips– all in 5 months! She then 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 15 years. Bonnie now divides her time between the consultancy, Peppermint Solutions, working for Australia’s South West and her active boys.
Markus Beuke has more than twenty five years of global experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, managing sizeable hospitality and tourism operations throughout Australasia.
He is passionate about the hospitality and tourism industry and raising the standard of service in WA. Markus learnt his craft from leading training organisations in Germany, the United States and Australia.
Markus has worked in various five-star hotels, cruise liners and tourism operations around the world. His experience includes operating small boutique operations, overseeing large businesses with up to 300 – 400 staff, spending some years managing a private hospitality & tourism college, consulting for an Asian Hotel Management Group and leading the hospitality and tourism section of a WA public training organisation to state and national recognition and awards. He is currently an executive member of a public training provider managing a region of over 424,000 km².
He is a member of a number of professional organisations, including the Catering Institute of Australia and La Chaines des Rotisseurs.
Markus has been a WA Tourism Awards judge as well as judging the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Throughout his extensive career at Tourism WA, Barry has worked hand in hand with the tourism industry. During his time he covered the length and breadth of the state in a variety of capacities. His roles have seen him involved in a variety of different facets of the tourism industry including Retail, Wholesale and Product Development.
His work has seen him instigate key changes to the look and management of regional tourism in the state, has led successful statewide marketing campaigns, was hands on in securing major sporting events for WA and historically had a role as Advisor to the Minister for Tourism.
Barry takes pride in his passion for all things West Australian be they in the corporate or sporting arenas and loves nothing more than seeing locals succeed.
Brian as Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic and business plans for Burswood Park.
Burswood Park was established as a Western Australian Government statutory authority in January 1986, and the Board is responsible for the control and management of Burswood Park.
Burswood Park comprises 110 hectares, which surrounds the five major buildings which make up the Crown Perth, and Burswood Park includes an 18-hole public golf course on 60 hectares, parks and gardens on 43 hectares and the State Tennis Centre on 7 hectares.
Burswood Park was inducted into the Western Australian Tourism Hall of Fame in 1998.
Burswood Park hosts a number of popular well attended outdoor events including the Western Australian Youth Orchestra, Christmas Carols in the Park, charity walks and an outdoor cinema which has raised over $3.7 million for charity. Volunteer tour guides provide free daily tours of Burswood Park including the history of the sister city relationship between the City of Kagoshima and the City of Perth.
Brian is a member of the Association of Perth Attractions and Parks and Leisure Australia and a Judge for the Western Australian Tourism Awards for a number of years.
David Duncanson has more than 25 years experience in tourism development both in the private and public sectors. Prior to starting his own consultancy business in February 2010 he was Manager of Economic Development & Marketing at the City of Fremantle where he oversaw all local government tourism functions including marketing Fremantle and events management.
Since establishing his consultancy business David has undertaken the development of tourism strategies for a number of West Australian local governments as well as regional event strategies and the development of a new drive trail in the Wheatbelt. Tourism signage is another area that has been a focus of attention with audits and strategies being undertaken in both the metropolitan area and in regional WA.
David’s experience has spanned the private, public and not for profit sectors and because of that he has a unique understanding of the roles and relationships of organizations. David also has a thorough understanding of the small business sector and in 2012 was appointed as Chairman of the Small Business Centre South East Metro, a not for profit organization which gives business related advice to people considering starting their own business or existing small businesses.
This will be David’s forth year as a WA Tourism Awards judge.
Scott Fleming’s career has seen him work in a variety of sectors within the travel and tourism industry, both in Australia and overseas. These sectors include; Food and Beverage, Accommodation, Retail and Corporate Travel and most recently Visitor Servicing. Scott’s past work history includes management roles with Accor Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance Cruise Lines and Flight Centre Limited.
Since June of 2006 Scott has been working in his current role with the City of Swan as Manager of the Swan Valley Visitor Centre. In this role he is responsible for the strategic direction of visitor servicing in the Swan Valley and management of the day to day operations including, staff and financial management. He is heavily involved in all areas of tourism including regional marketing, product development and interpretive infrastructure. Scott has extensive experience in tourism management and in his existing position, continues to lead a very successful and highly awarded team of 25 at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre.
Scott has had the pleasure of being on the board of the Visitor Centre Association of Western Australia and has sat on regional executive committees such as the Swan Valley Tourism Council. On a more personal level Scott brings a genuine passion for the industry, creativity and attention to detail in everything he does
John Tedesco has been involved in business planning and improvement for over 20 years. Seven years have been spent in the tourism industry including the previous WA Tourism Commission and Rottnest Island Authority. He has previously operated his own management consulting firm specialising in small to medium businesses in a variety of industry sectors.
John has previously been a judge in various business awards including the Telstra Small Business Awards and WA Tourism Awards.
John has a Master of Business Administration form the Curtin University of Western Australia as well as qualifications in business process design and quality management. John specialises in strategic planning, governance and business performance measurement.
John is currently Manager Planning and Governance with the Rottnest Island Authority.
Prue Pike has more than 20 years’ experience in travel and tourism. She has been a marketing consultant, executive holiday park account manager, adventure tourism guide and consumer.
As state manager for Australia’s BIG4 Holiday Parks, she was responsible for a portfolio of 40 holiday parks across Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. She executed the rollout of new company-wide systems, co-ordinated industry tradeshows, ensured policy and procedure adherence, and fulfilled other vital aspects of the leadership and training roles within the business.
As founder of Talk Social Media, Prue now works with travel and tourism operators keen to harness the power of social media marketing. Smart operators realise social media is a swift, honest, personal tool capable of enhancing and growing their businesses. Talk Social Media’s offering includes website audits, social media platform setup, one-on-one training and conference presentations.
Beyond her career in travel and tourism marketing and operations, Prue also has extensive experience in business consultancy, tourism sales, primary industries marketing and human resources. She has a business degree with a marketing major and is a professional member of the Australian Institute of Management. She is a Justice of the Peace, is fluent in Spanish and has a post-graduate qualification in teaching English as a second language.
Prue lives in Perth with her husband and business partner Aaron Lori. These days, Prue’s passion is helping Australian tourism operators fulfil their potential, but her well-worn passport remains close-at-hand; ready to be pressed back into service when adventure calls.
Tom Perrigo has served as the National Trust of Australia (WA)’s Chief Executive Officer since 1990.
A leader in Western Australia’s cultural heritage industry, Tom’s commitment to best practice sustainable and educational outcomes for WA’s natural and cultural heritage assets continues to deliver outstanding community benefits present and future generations.
Tom holds tertiary qualifications in education, science and cultural heritage management and has extensive practical experience in interpretation and conservation includes working with Western Australian Maritime Museum, the Rottnest Island Authority and the National Trust throughout Australia.
Tom has served on a range of boards, councils, committees and review panels and after taking a short two year break from judging the awards, is now pleased to do it again.
Pat has been in the tourism industry since 1984 and has had a long association with regional tourism. She started her own events company , Strahan Events in 1990 and has been responsible for organising large tourism events in WA. She was CEO of Caravan Industry Australia WA for 15 years and during that time the Caravan and Camping Show became one of the largest exhibitions in WA and over the years the profile of the caravan industry increased dramatically. She was also responsible for the organisation of the WA Tourism Awards for many years.
She has also served on a number of Boards including: Tourism Council WA, Events Industry Association WA, Caravan Industry Association WA, RVMAA National Board and associated Sub-Committees, Country Tourism Association, Meetings Industry Association WA, the Organising Committee of the Australian Tourism Awards, the Outback Safari National Committee and a number of community boards.
Of Swiss origin, Ulrich Kunzmann has had some 30 years of extensive experience as a Senior General Manager within the international hotel and hospitality industries.
Ulrich has been awarded “Best Hotel” in both Malaysia and at the Burswood Resort Hotel, and he was involved in the opening of a number of major properties.
The job of a successful Hotel General Manager ranges from a great amount of “attention to details”, to the establishment and implementation of major strategic goals. An intimate knowledge of the function of all the various departments and their fluent cooperation and integration are also important.
Additionally, and among many more appointments, Ulrich was the Vice Chairman of the Western Australian Tourism Council, and he has served as a judge for both the “Gold Plate Awards” and the “WA Tourism Awards” on many occasions.
He looks forward to sharing his vast experience with you.