Open for business: how government can help reboot tourism post-COVID

September 28, 2022

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Tourism is reopening in many countries following the shut downs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

As visitors return, countries have the chance to look afresh at how they support this vital sector, and consider new approaches to make tourism more sustainable, inclusive and economically beneficial.

This webinar with knowledge partner Mastercard looked at the approaches being developed in countries like Australia, New Zealand and those in the Pacific region to help the sector thrive. It looked at initiatives like the development of regional tourism support to allow different areas to focus on their strengths – whether that be heritage tourism or business travel – to economic support to provide direct flights that didn’t exist before COVID-19.

Experts in this session also shared insight on how governments can help businesses that rely on tourism – especially small- and medium-sized enterprises – benefit from changing tourism trends, such as the increasingly popularity of personalised tourism experiences, healthcare and wellbeing retreats, and the appearance of the digital nomad – who may visit countries while working remotely in another.

Join this webinar to find out:

  • How tourism is recovering in different markets post-pandemic
  • Best practice in how governments can support tourism businesses, and the new approaches being developed
  • How staff working in the sector can provided with the skills they need for a fast-moving and digitally-focused sector


Jan Hutton, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Tourism Data Warehouse

Jan is a trusted business leader and advisor, with an ability to identify and drive growth. She has a proud track record, delivering strategies that enhance competitive positioning for companies and countries. With specialisation in developing purpose-led organisations and an acute focus on sustainability, Jan has acquired specialist expertise in unlocking opportunities within travel and tourism.

Having international experience in both government and private sector, as former Managing Director within the Ogilvy group, Director and board member of The Nielsen Company, CMO of South African Tourism, CMO of Deloitte Consulting Africa, CMO of Destination Gold Coast, GM Marketing for Destination NSW, and currently CEO of Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Jan’s career path has been deliberately unconventional, a combination of strategic leadership in management consulting, digital transformation, marketing and place development. A well-regarded senior executive and clear thinker with a ambitious spirit, Jan makes an impact by bringing insight and inspiration to maximise competitiveness.

Nick Jones, Executive Director, Destination Development, South Australian Tourism Commission

Nick Jones is the Executive Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission’s Destination Development Group, with the key focus of driving the supply side of the South Australian tourism industry.

Nick has played a key role in increasing the accessibility to South Australia, attracting new hotel and infrastructure development, and regional tourism development. He oversaw the negotiation and introduction of new international airlines to South Australia, record cruise visitation growth and the development of the South Australian touring routes to capitalise on the significant self-drive market.

He is a member of the Regional Visitor Strategy 2025 Steering Committee. His team also managed the $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund, designed to help regional tourism operators improve and diversify their offerings to grow visitation.  

Nick and his team continue to work hard to help South Australia’s tourism industry reach its full potential and capitalise on significant post-COVID opportunities.

Nick joined the SATC after a number of years in senior consumer and trade marketing, sales and management roles with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, at the time, the owners of Channel Nine Network and Australian Consolidated Press.

Ramil Basuel, Chief Tourism Operations Officer, Tourism Development Planning Division, Department of Tourism, The Philippines

Currently heads the Tourism Development Planning Division, spearheading the formulation of the National Tourism Development Plan and the National Ecotourism Strategies and Action Plan for 2021 – 2028. He also heads the development and the implementation of the Tourism Development Planning Training Modules. He is also part of the development of the DOT Information System which is aimed to digitalize the knowledge services of the Department.

As one of the former Senior officer of DOT’s tourism statistics division, he still advises the project officer in the formulation of the Revised Tourism Statistics Manual for LGUs which he helped developed and institutionalized in 2012.

Work aside, he also sits as the current President of the DOT Employees Association.

David Perks, General Manager, Tākina Commercial Development, Wellington City Council, New Zealand

David’s experience in the tourism sector in New Zealand spans over 20 years.

Following a decade with Millennium Hotels in metropolitan and provincial destinations, David led Positively Wellington Tourism and when WellingtonNZ was formed as the capital’s Economic Development Agency he became General Manager – Regional Development, Destination & Attraction.

David led the tourism, business events and i-SITE teams as well as work developing a regional destination plan and the Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre. Being responsible for the workforce and business growth team at WellingtonNZ through the Covid-19 pandemic enabled tourism to be at the heart of sustaining the regional economy.Today David is leading the development of Tākina – the new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, and is the Chair of Wellington’s iconic visitor attraction the Wellington Cable Car. David is the Chair of Regional Tourism New Zealand and as a board member of Tourism industry Aotearoa and of Business Events Industry Aotearoa David represents the voice and investment of local government in New Zealand’s tourism sector. He is passionate about creating the optimum environment for the development of a sustainable tourism sector that benefits every community.

Asha Cugati, Vice President, Government and B2B vertical, Mastercard ANZ

Asha is Vice President, Government and B2B vertical for Mastercard ANZ. Asha joined Mastercard in 2018 after 11 years at Citigroup. Asha’s prior career in transaction banking at Citi provided her with experience in payments, cash management, treasury and trade solutions serving global organisations. During her time at both ANZ Banking Group and Citi, she gained experience leading sales teams across Australia and New Zealand for all client segments – financial institutions, multinational corporations, government entities and ASX100 institutional clients.

Asha moved to Mastercard to dive deeper into the world of payments and data, and to build and execute the strategy for the future of Mastercard’s relationships and engagement with business clients and Government agencies across ANZ.

Asha’s role provides her with the opportunity to learn about new technologies, such as blockchain-based solutions. At present this means learning about tracking and traceability and event-triggered payments, and how these can help our customers thrive.

From 2016-2021 Asha was an Alumni Board Member supporting the Business School at the University of NSW. Asha gained both her Economics degree and MA in International Relations from the University of NSW in Sydney.

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.