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 previously a member of the WA Tourism Awards judging panel from 2012 to 2015.
His qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing and Management; Post Graduate Diploma in Business, e-Commerce plus a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
Guy Alessandro is the Managing Director of Alessandro & Associates, providers of consultative senior management services and skills to the Tourism, Events & 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) short-midterm projects, relief & event management services, education & training, leadership, consultative management, and specialist sales and marketing services.
Guy has had a strong involvement in the industry throughout the state and Australia-wide with a particular focus on the Meetings, Conventions and Events sectors.
Guy has a vast array of management experiences across restaurants & 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 Crown Perth, Sheraton Perth Hotel, Delaware North Australia, Perth Entertainment Centre, His Majesty’s Theatre and the WACA.
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.
Deborah is a tourism industry veteran with over 25 years experience. She operates her own Consultancy business, Destination Carr, helping Tourism/Hospitality businesses develop and grow their revenue streams, distribution networks and is experienced in change management practices, mentoring of Management teams, Destination Marketing, developing budgets and Strategic Business plans. She has consulted to Rottnest Fast Ferries for the past four years in all aspects of the business with a particular emphasis on growing and developing the business and mentoring the Directors and management team. This also included being on the Executive of the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce and also co-chairing the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce Events and Marketing Committee.
She consulted to Discover Australia Holidays as their Partnerships Manager and she was responsible for managing and sourcing their key strategic partnerships nationally, including major suppliers, STOs and major RTOs. Deborah has held various senior level roles on the east and west coasts, including Director of Marketing at Cable Beach Club Broome, Group Director of Sales and Marketing at Broadwater Hotels & Resorts, Director of Marketing at El Questro Station and Wilderness Park, Director of Sales Asia and Corporate at Accor (AAPH), Regional Director of Sales and Marketing NSW/ACT at Accor (AAPH), Regional Director of Sales and Marketing QLD/NT/ELQ at All Seasons Hotels and Manager Sales Leisure & Corporate at Rendezvous Hotels. Deborah is married with four sons and is located in Perth.
Kim Charles has 20 years’ experience assisting small businesses, across a broad range of industries, to grow and prosper. Qualified in Business Management, Kim brings with her significant skills in the fields of economic development, business incubator management, small business development and event management. Kim has also been successful in winning a number of significant State and Federal Government tenders such as the Business local program and the Australian Small Business Advisory Program to enable the organisation to build its capacity to deliver low cost small business advisory services across the Perth Metropolitan region. Kim is passionate about SME's and helping people develop their business through sound strategy, financial and business management, robust operational systems, marketing and brand management. She enjoys creating opportunities through partnerships and collaboration with like-minded people.
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. She has managed some of the Government’s major advertising campaigns including the promotion of apprenticeships and traineeships and, when PR & Marketing Manager for the Department of Education, she developed and managed the teacher recruitment state, national and international campaign. In addition, she had responsibility for large events such as the Career Choices Expo and the WA Education Awards.
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 the promotion of Western Australia as an outstanding tourist destination.
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.
Professor Ross Dowling OAM is a passionate advocate of tourism in Western Australia. He is Foundation Professor of Tourism in the School of Business & Law at 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 WA he is Vice President, Royal Automobile Club, Board Member of Australia’s Coral Coast, Member of the Conservation and Parks Commission, Ambassador, WA Parks Foundation, and Life Member of FACET. He is a Director of Ideology Pty Ltd which provides advice for the tourism industry 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 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).
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.
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.
Jasmine and her husband Dave own Common Ground Trails, a trail and tourism consultancy business. They have been responsible for the development of tourism strategies, mountain bike master plans, and a number of trail networks and facilities. Jasmine has a background in destination promotion, marketing and promotions, event and sponsorship management, and public relations.
Previously, Jasmine was the CEO of the regional tourism organisation, Australia’s South West, and Marketing Manager for the Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association. In her role with Australia’s South West, Jasmine 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.
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.
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.
Claire Savage has over 25 years of experience in tourism product development and marketing both in the UK and Australia. Claire also has tertiary qualifications in business, tourism, marketing, sustainable destination development and corporate governance.
In July 2016 Claire began working with Tourism WA as the Project Manager for Food and Wine. Claire’s role is to identify the opportunities and challenges related to the delivery of the Taste 2020 strategy and facilitate the raising of WA’s profile as a key international food and wine destination.
Claude has enjoyed a career in the Travel and Tourism Industry spanning over 36 years commencing as a front-line consultant through to managing the WA operation of a global TMC. He was responsible for large resource industry customers as well as the HR management, planning and organisational management for the WA operation.
For the past 12 years Claude has been lecturing and mentoring the Travel, Tourism and Event Industry students at North Metropolitan TAFE. In addition to lecturing, mentoring and developing material for students, Claude maintained an ongoing liaison with industry partners in the development of new curriculum and seeking job opportunities for the students. Claude also was a member of the team which developed the teaching and assessment materials for the first year of the Le Cordon Bleu Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management course which is planned for delivery in association with North Metropolitan TAFE.
Claude has always had, and maintains, a keen interest in how tourism, travel and hospitality in WA and Australia, continues to develop and how the industry approaches its service delivery to the consumer.