Our Advisory Committee
Garry has been part of the ACT tourism sector for 30 years, and the Project Leader of the National Capital Educational Tourism Project (NCETP) since 1999. Under his leadership the NCETP has had a significant impact on the ACT tourism region with educational visitors injecting 140 million economic value to the ACT annually. Previous to this, Garry worked extensively in the ACT attractions sector including running visitor services and public programs at the National Film and Sound Archive and providing electoral education for the National Electoral Education Centre. He has also been a market research consultant, with a speciality in facilitating search conferences.
Garry has been a key part of the National Capital Attractions Association and Canberra Region Tourism Awards (CRTA) for many years. After 10 years as Chair of Judges for the CRTA, in 2016 Garry was appointed the Chair of Judges for the Australian Tourism Awards concluding at the end of 2018. Garry has been awarded the Canberra Region Tourism Awards, 2001 Outstanding Contribution by an Individual Award and has recently been included as a Member in the Order of Australia (General Division) for his services to tourism.
Chair of Judges
Phillip Jones has been involved in the Awards for several years as a mentor, judge and now Chair of Judges. He is also one of the National Award judges and has considerable experience in similar roles for a range of industry and professional bodies. Professionally he has worked internationally in fine dining over a decade as well, before offering facilitation and strategic consulting service through his company, Two Degrees Group. Phillip is an educator and advocate for Australian craft spirits through his popular series of events and website, as the Martini Whisperer.
Naomi is an Assistant Professor of Management and Program Director for the Bachelor of Business and the Bachelor of Event and Tourism Management at the University of Canberra. Naomi has been teaching and researching in the Tourism Discipline at UC since 2006. She was the recipient of an Australian Post Graduate Award scholarship and her Ph.D. investigated destination choice by school excursion groups in Australia. She is Chief Executive Officer of the Canberra Region Tourism Industry Council, coordinator of the Visitor Research Forum and a board member of the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC). Naomi’s research is concerned with Learning and Engagement in Tourism. This incorporates research in the specific areas of educational tourism, policy impacts of curriculum, and visitor research at cultural institutions and national capital attractions. It also captures emerging research interests in the application of social media, and strategies for engagement through e-platforms (in teaching, tourism, and events). Other key areas are around consumer behaviour and marketing.
Debra manages the coordination of the Canberra Region Tourism Awards program and events. She has an extensive background in leading and inspiring tourism services in the Canberra Region. With over 18 years in experience, Debra brings a multifaceted understanding of high quality tourism experiences from her various roles with major Canberra tourism attractions, including the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Questacon and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Debra has thrived on working on exciting events such as Enlighten and the G20Summit, through to major contributions to numerous successful Canberra Region Tourism Awards. Debra is a board member of the National Capital Attractions Association and holds a Post- Graduate Degree in Business Management from the University of Canberra. Debra is passionate about high quality tourism and educational experiences as a way to increase and sustain tourism in the Canberra Region.
Russell Jackson is the Executive Manager of Business and Marketing at Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium and Jamala Wildlife Lodge – one of the most highly regarded globally unique luxury zoo hotels. Russell has been involved with the zoo for over 12 years and has played a crucial role in the development, marketing and operations of both facilities. With a background in animal management, he began his zoo career as a casual zookeeper before progressing to the senior management team and utilising his other skills and experience in marketing, IT and business analysis. Russell currently manages, oversees, and contributes to a large variety of areas across the National Zoo & Aquarium and Jamala Wildlife Lodge, including a focus on guest and visitor experience and destination marketing. These multi-award winning properties have received numerous TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence (5 star) and are seen as a worldwide leader in guest experience in both the zoo and accommodation industries.