May 3, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan announced a panel of five to advise government and the tourism industry in driving the economic recovery of the visitor economy on Friday.

The panel will advise on driving domestic and international visitor recovery, including for international students, leisure and business travellers, business and major events and short-term workers.

The panel is being chaired by former federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson AM – currently Chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia and Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association – and also includes Leanne Coddington, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism and Events Queensland, Karyn Kent, Chief Executive of StudyAdelaide, Kate Lamont AM, owner of Lamont’s Wine and Food, and Juan Walker, owner and operator of Walkabout Cultural Adventures.

“Mr Ferguson and his team have the crucial role of helping Australia to chart a course to long-term success as we emerge from COVID-19,” said Tehan.

In contrast to the Tourism 2030 Steering Committee, which had two dedicated events representatives – former MCB CEO Karen Bollinger and Chairman of venue management heavyweight AEG Ogden Harvey Lister – within its nine members, the Reimagining the Visitor Economy Expert Panel has more diluted event experience amongst its members.

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) released a statement welcoming the announcement of the panel.

“Improved engagement with industry, which this appointed expert panel can bring, will help elevate policy priorities for a better future state for Australian tourism,” said ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said.

“We view the establishment of an Expert Panel as a means to advance the timeline towards a much-needed, decade long national tourism and visitor economy strategy to year 2030.

“Martin Ferguson previously drove successful collaboration and alignment on the fundamentals to deliver Tourism2020 and ATIC positively views the appointment and that of the diverse Panel.”

Business events bodies have yet to comment on the appointments to the panel.

Image: Lizard Island | Photo: Lizard Island