Our Steering Committee


 Brian Weir, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge


Brian is a lecturer in the Tourism Program at the University of Canberra. He has been an ACT, NSW and National Tourism Awards Judge, as well as an executive member of the National Capital Attractions Association, National Secretary of Ecotourism Australia, and a member of the ACT Tourism Industry Advisory Council.  He has worked extensively in business development and economic policy for the ACT Government, as well as heading the Government’s Tourism Policy, and Nature Based Tourism development, units for several years.

 David Barker, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge


David is the Industry Development Manager at VisitCanberra and is responsible for overseeing the Canberra Region Tourism Awards on behalf of VisitCanberra. His career in the tourism industry spans over 25 years with a variety of roles which showcase the wonderful opportunities that tourism can present. Highlights include managing guest relations on a live aboard dive boat in Cairns, tour leading adventure expeditions through four continents, marketing and logistics manager of Tanzanian safari camps, managing his own eco-tourism mobile camping safari business in Tanzania and destination management in Cape York Peninsula. David has been a judge of the Canberra Region Tourism Awards for the last two years of the program.

 Naomi Dale, , Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge


Naomi is an Assistant Professor of Management and Associate Dean Academic for the Faculty of Business, Government and Law 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 recently completed her PhD investigating destination choice by school excursion groups in Australia. She is Vice President of the National Capital Attractions Association, co-ordinator of the Visitor Research Forum and a member of the Service Champions and Canberra Tourism Employment Plan steering committees. 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.

 Nic Crowther, Deputy Chair of Judges of the Canberra Region Tourism Awards

NIC CROWTHER, Chair of Judges

Nic is a proud Canberran who writes with a passion for the city. As the editor-at-large for Feed Media, Nic has a love of food and wine, as well as politics and mass media. When not examining contentious ideas or interrogating and parodying the big issues of the day, Nic can be found enjoying a meal at any of Canberra’s dining establishments.

 John Leyshon, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge


John is the President of the Canberra District Wine Industry Association; sits on the Executive of the NSW Wine Industry Association; and is a member of the Economic Development Committee of the Yass Valley Council. John is also a winemaker and partner in Mallaluka Wines, a boutique winery in the Canberra District. John spent forty years in secondary education and organised and conducted countless adventure tours, both nationally and internationally, for senior secondary students. He has travelled (privately) to many of the premium wine regions in Australia, France and Italy. John has a keen appreciation of the value of the wine industry to tourism. He is very optimistic about the future of the wine industry in the Canberra District and is keen to align that with tourism and the businesses associated with it. John currently works as an Associate Dean in the faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra.

 SHaylan profile


Sean is Economic Development and Tourism Manager for Yass Valley Council, Director of the Southern NSW Destination Network (SNSWDN), Chair of the Tourism Working Group of Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CBRJO), and CBRJO representative of the Australian Regional Tourism Networks (ARTN) Regional Tourism Advisory Group. Sean has over 10 years’ experience in the tourism industry within the public and private sectors at both operational and Board levels. Sean is passionate about regional tourism and the opportunities that exist for the destinations beyond the ACT border that collectively form the Canberra Region.

 SHaylan profile


Debra is managing the coordination of the Canberra and Region Tourism Awards and has an extensive background in leading and inspiring tourism services in the ACT. With over 17 years in experience, Debra brings a multifaceted understanding of high quality tourism experiences from her various roles with major ACT 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 ACT Tourism Awards. Debra has been 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 ACT.