25/05/2004 - 22:00

TCWA digs in

25/05/2004 - 22:00

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THE Tourism Council of WA announced its new board last week, electing six members to replace four whose terms had expired and two who were not seeking re-election.

TCWA digs in

THE Tourism Council of WA announced its new board last week, electing six members to replace four whose terms had expired and two who were not seeking re-election.

The board will immediately be put to the test when it meets next week after a month during which the State’s tourism sector has received some major setbacks.

A recent Western Australian Tourism Commission announcement of a restructure in marketing policy, which includes the closure of several offices overseas, has created a stir in the industry. Recent State and Federal budget cuts have added further salt to the wound.

Tourism Council WA president Ron Buckey said that, while he was surprised at the lack of industry consultation in the new marketing strategy, he believed the new board was well equipped to fight for the best outcome for tourism in Western Australia.

A working group, formed from TCWA members in response to the new marketing direction, recommended a vote of no confidence in WATC CEO Richard Muirhead.

The previous board did not adopt the recommendation, however, and it remains to be seen whether the new board will.

The TCWA has made clear its intention to fight to keep the WATC’s Tokyo marketing office open.

Junko Matsuzaki, from Japanese inbound operator Kintetsu, said that, culturally, it was a mistake to shut the Tokyo office.

“Japanese business is done face to face, and it is culturally very important that Japanese people have the connection and easy access that face to face interaction provides,” Ms Matsuzaki said.

Selling Australia managing director Vince Laurella said the Government was risking the “tourism vote”.

“The WATC has blown out their operating and administration costs by $1.4 million in the last year, and is now trying to pinch pennies by shutting down overseas offices,” he said. “The industry is not going to accept this, and there are a number of operators willing to protest this at parliament.”

An industry source contacted by WA Business News said the main issue was a lack of confidence in the WATC CEO and head of marketing, who has been in the role for close to 20 years.

New members elected to the TCWA board were: Westralia Airports CEO Graham Muir; Motor trades Association CEO Peter Fitzpatrick; Skywest Airlines CEO Scott Henderson; and Australia’s North West chairman and former tourism minister, Ian Laurance. Dan Mossenson and Ian Simmonds were re-elected as board members, while the positions of Ron Buckey, Jan Barrie, Camille Bradsmith and Jim Williams were not due for re-election.

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