Tourism Tasmania says it has made changes to its leadership team and processes after a damning consultants’ report found the agency was a “boys’ club” where management had to be encouraged to say hi to their staff at least once a week.
- A 2016 consultants’ report into the culture at Tourism Tasmania found management was dismissive, secretive and “always talking about golf”
- The government-funded agency says it changed management and processes after the report was released
- New figures show visitor numbers to Tasmania are declining after years of record growth
Bosses at the government-funded tourism promotion body were lashed as secretive, dismissive and lacking emotional intelligence in the confidential report, first revealed on the ABC on Thursday.
A number of senior managers remained in their positions after the 2016 report was handed to the agency, including the head of Tourism Tasmania, John Fitzgerald.
One staff member told consultant Bronwyn Cross: “[Managers] are always talking about golf, which is especially frustrating when we’re trying to meet deadlines.”
According to another: “I’m told ‘OK, I’m sick of listening to you’. There is no recognition that it is a good suggestion or request … I just have to keep requesting until I annoy him.”
Staff asked management to stop scheduling formal fun, greet them weekly, make eye contact when speaking, and “tell us more … we’re not ASIO”.
Ms Cross endorsed the bulk of staff suggestions as reasonable.
Tourism boss defends organisation
Speaking after Ms Cross’s report was leaked to the ABC, Mr Fitzgerald defended Tourism Tasmania as boasting a “strong and high-performing team that is delivering results”.
“Since that report was undertaken in 2016 there have been a number of internal changes, including senior leadership members and improved business processes,” Mr Fitzgerald said in a statement.
“In the past three years the number of visitors to Tasmania has hit record highs, with record spend.”
A Tasmanian Government spokeswoman did not confirm whether the Tourism Minister, Premier Will Hodgman, had seen the report.
Tourism Research Australia data on international visitation to Tasmania showed visitor numbers declined 1.6 per cent in the past year, a 14 per cent drop in visitor nights and a 4.6 per cent reduction on trip expenditure.
The figures released this week showed the state was the only jurisdiction in Australia to go backwards on every measure, with all other states recording an increase in international visitors.
Separate research from Tourism Tasmania released earlier this month showed the number of holidaymakers from interstate and overseas dropped 4 per cent in the same period.
Tourism Industry Council chief executive Luke Martin said the reduction in visitors to Tasmania followed years of strong growth.
“Are [Tourism Tasmania] doing enough? No, it’s probably a bit of a wake-up call about saying we all need to be a bit more aggressive about looking and setting up the future, and it’s certainly not a time for complacency,” Mr Martin said.
Tourism Tasmania will launch a new brand and campaign on Monday.