Mr. Martin Ferguson AM – Chair

Martin Ferguson has a long history of work in tourism policy. Martin was elected as a Member of the Federal Parliament in the seat of Batman and served as a Shadow Minister in a range of portfolios including tourism. On the election of the Rudd Government in 2007 Martin was appointed Minister for Tourism, a role he served in until February 2013. In his time as Minister, he implemented Australia’s 2020 Tourism Strategy, chaired the Tourism Minister’s Council, maintained a strong focus on investment in tourism infrastructure through Tourism Australia and Austrade links, encouraged the development of the Chinese tourism market to Australia and greater employment of Indigenous Australians in the tourism industry.

Martin has an honours degree in economics from Sydney University. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 1996 for his contribution to working people.

Mr. Norman Arundel – Director Hotel and Resort Operations, EVENT Hospitality & Entertainment Limited

Norman has been Managing Director of Rydges Hotels & Resorts at Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited since January 29, 2007, moving into his new position as Director Hotel and Resort Operations, EVENT Hospitality & Entertainment Limited in 2017.

Norman is a hotel and travel industry professional, with experience working throughout Australia, New Zealand. He has held General Manager positions in nine hotels and Resorts, including 2 years as General Manager of Australia’s largest integrated Resort.  

Mr. Dave Baswal – Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Ovolo Hotels Australia

Currently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Ovolo Hotels Australia, Dave brings with him over 15 years’ experience within the hospitality industry. An exemplary hospitality executive who creates strategic alliances with organisation leaders. With a proven experience in operations, strategic finance, corporate treasury, project management, distribution, IT, audit, financial analysis, sales and marketing within hospitality industry. Dave joined Ovolo Group’s Australian team with a goal of driving the Hong Kong-based brand’s further expansion into the Australian market.

Dave has been instrumental in leading design and development initiatives for all new Australian based Ovolo Hotels including spearheading recent design projects for Ovolo Inchcolm Brisbane, Ovolo Nishi and the new Emporium hotel to be re-branded shortly.

Dave is an effective communicator, and a member of CPA Australia. With a Masters in Professional Accounting and Masters in International Tourism and Hospitality from Griffith University in Gold Coast in addition to Bachelor in Hotel Management, Dave brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to lead the Ovolo Australia Team.

Mr. Peter M Burnett AM – National Vice President, Australian Hotels Association (AHA)

Peter M Burnett is the National Vice President – Australian Hotels Association (AHA), the Victorian AHA President, covering a period of 20 years, Chairman – Australian Gaming Council, Director – Tourism Accommodation Australia, Director – Visit Victoria and Chairman – EJ Whitten Foundation.

Born in Melbourne and educated at Scotch College, Peter’s hospitality experience spans 49 years, having owned hotels in Victoria and South Australia.  Peter has owned and operated the Lord of the Isles Tavern in Geelong, Victoria, since 1980.

Peter is an AHA Past-President, former director of Tourism Australia and Geelong Football Club and remains a life member with Geelong Football Club. His significant service to the tourism and hospitality sectors, at state and national level, and support of charitable and sporting groups was recognised in 2015, when Peter received a Queen’s Birthday honours award as Member (AM) in the General Division.    

Mr. Peter Crinis – Chief Operating Officer, Hotels, Retail and Food & Beverage, Crown Hotels

Peter Crinis is one of the longest serving and most experienced General Managers in the Australian hospitality industry. He joined Crown in 1997 as the Rooms Division Manager for Crown Towers and was quickly promoted to General Manager 12 months later.Due to his extensive business knowledge and leadership.

As the current Chief Operating Officer, Hotels, Retail and Food & Beverage for Crown Hotels, Peter guides new developments and the application of brand and operating standards for the Crown Hotels & Retail group.

Prior to joining Crown, Peter held a number of senior positions with Hyatt International in Australia and overseas and has served on a number of industry Boards.

Mr. Robert Dawson – Area Vice President, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts International Operations

Robert Dawson was appointed to his current role as General Manager, Park Hyatt Melbourne and Area Vice President in December 2009 and oversees the operations of the pacific hotels and related functions. Prior to taking up his appointment in Melbourne, Robert held senior management roles with Hyatt over the last 24 years in Perth, Johannesburg, Singapore & London managing a range of Hyatt brands.

Before joining Hyatt hotels, Robert who was educated in England held a number of positions in luxury hotels in Europe and the Caribbean.

Ms. Leanne Harwood – Managing Director Australiasia and Japan (IHG)

Leanne Harwood is Managing Director of IHG’s Australasia & Japan Business Unit
Appointed to this role from January 2018, Leanne is one of IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) senior leaders, and is responsible for the operations, growth and performance of the more than 70 hotels in the Australasia and Japan Business Unit.

In this role, she will oversee the regional teams in Sydney and Tokyo as they to continue the fantastic growth momentum in Australasia and prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Leanne has over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry with more than a decade at IHG. Before being appointed to this role, Leanne was Vice President for IHG’s operations in South East Asia and Korea, based in Bangkok, overseeing the operations and performance of more than 60 hotels in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Korea – a number that is due to double over the next few years.

She had also worked for a number of hotel companies in a variety of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and French Polynesia.

Originally from New Zealand, Leanne is a fitness fanatic and enjoys skiing.

Mr. Sean Hunt – Area Vice President – Australia, New Zealand & Pacific
Managing Director, Sheraton on the Park
Marriott International

Sean commenced his current role of Area Vice President Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International in late 2016 and continues as a Managing Director of Sheraton on the Park. Sean Hunt has more than 25 years of international experience with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, including assignments in Australia and Asia. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,000 properties in 100 countries and approximately 145,000 employees.

David Seargeant Photo AHL

Mr. David Seargeant – Founder, Brand Ambassador QT Hotels & Resorts

David joined Event Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd (Formerly Amalgamated Holdings Limited) in February 1988 as Chief Executive of the Hotel Division. He has been recognised as the founder of Rydges Hotels & Resorts, which is currently one of the largest Australian – owned hotel operators with nearly 7000 rooms at locations across Australia, New Zealand, and United Kingdom. The Company recently launched the QT Hotels & Resorts brand with individual design driven properties in Sydney, Gold Coast, Port Douglas, Falls Creek and Canberra and plans for development of properties in Perth and Melbourne. The company also operates the value positioned Atura brand.

David was appointed Group Managing Director of Event Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd in late 2000. Event Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd is an Australian listed company with market capitalization in excess of $1.9 Billion. In addition to owning the Hotel brands, and an extensive property portfolio, Event Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd also operates Cinemas under the Event & BCC brands in Australia and New Zealand and Cinestar in Germany. EHE is the 10th largest cinema operator globally. In addition EHE owns some of Australia’s most iconic assets including the Thredbo Alpine Ski Resorts and Sydney’s State Theatre.

Bradley Woods High Res Square Image

Mr. Bradley Woods – CEO Australian Hotels Association WA

Bradley Woods is recognized as one of Australia’s leading political advocates for the hotel, tourism and hospitality industry. Bradley is the CEO of the Australian Hotels Association WA and the TAA National Executive Director for Government and Parliamentary Affairs. Bradley has over 25 years’ experience in the Federal and State government relations and advocacy and has specialised in the hotel, hospitality and tourism sector since 1993. As TAA National Executive Director for Government and Parliamentary Affairs, Bradley is responsible for co-ordinating Federal Government advocacy and engagement on national policy issues affecting the hotel and accommodation sector.