Damning consultant report helping Tourism Tasmania fix culture

15 October 2019 Consultancy.com.au

In 2016, Tourism Tasmania commissioned an external consultant to assess the agency’s workplace culture. The results were on some aspects of operations shocking – the culture at the government-funded tourism promotion body was described as foul, with the management labelled as secretive, dismissive and lacking of emotional intelligence.

The report, which was leaked to news outlet ABC, found that senior managers had to be encouraged to say hi to their staff at least once a week. Several respondents confirmed that staff asked Tourism Tasmania’s management to greet them weekly, make eye contact when speaking, and stop scheduling formal fun (“managers are always talking about golf, which is frustrating when we're trying to meet deadlines”).

One employee interviewed for the study further pointed out that his manager said “I'm sick of listening to you” when he wanted to raise a concern, highlighting how management offered little room for suggestions or requests from the work floor. 

Tourism Tasmania working on fixing its cultureIn the three years since the report was delivered, Tourism Tasmania has taken several measures to fix the culture, said John Fitzgerald, the head of Tourism Tasmania. “Since that report was undertaken there have been a number of internal changes, including leadership members and improved business processes.” 

However, an analysis of the agency’s most senior team shows that all executives – including Fitzgerald – have remained in their roles. Fitzgerald defended this by saying that Tourism Tasmania’s leadership is a “strong and high-performing team” that is “delivering results”. 

“In the past three years the number of visitors to Tasmania has hit record highs, with record spend,” he said. But following years of strong growth in visitors, data from Tourism Research Australia released last week shows that in the past year the number of visitors actually declined by 1.6%. Average trip expenditure of visitors fell by 4.6%.

A drop in international visitors was one main driver of this development. Across Australia, Tasmania was the only jurisdiction to attract less people from overseas, with all other states recording an increase in international visitors. 

According to Luke Martin, the chief executive of the Tourism Industry Council, the news is a “bit of a wake-up call” for Tourism Tasmania. “It's certainly not a time for complacency.”


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