After eight years at the helm of Tourism Barossa, regional tourism manager, Ms Cathy Wills will leave the organisation.
Taking on Cathy’s role in an interim term is Jess Greatwich, the two of whom have been job sharing the regional tourism manager role for the past two years.
Cathy said the change of the guard puts Tourism Barossa in a position to review the current context, considering the significant changes to the global tourism sector, and added the board will commence that process over coming months.
“It is an opportunity to have a strategic review of the organisation and the best possible position for it, for the next five to 10 years,” said Cathy.
“And therefore recruit someone against that new direction.”
Looking ahead, Cathy said there are challenges and cited the uncertainty around the globe of the COVID pandemic.
“There is also the challenge for the Barossa to continue to advocate for the Barossa to be seen and funded as Australia’s premium wine and food region,” said Cathy.
“Also, the advocacy work for Federal and State funding, to be directed to the Barossa to ensure Australia’s jewel in the crown is appropriately marketed and positioned. As the Sydney Harbour is the icon for Australia, so is the Barossa for wine and when that gets agreed on all levels then the funding will flow.”
In reflection, Cathy said she was so grateful to be able to take on the role, having returned to the Barossa after positions interstate.
“It was a homecoming,” said Cathy.
“I felt incredibly privileged to be offered this position and I continue to feel that, it has been a remarkable role.”
Cathy described it as a wonderful opportunity to serve the Barossa community and has been fortunate to not only see the organisation grow in staff and support levels but also tourism in the region as a whole.
“I have met some amazing people in the tourism sector,” said Cathy.
“And a great joy it has been to work alongside the Tourism Barossa team, each with significant expertise in this field.”
Cathy acknowledged the team effort of Tourism Barossa to continue a tradition in the Barossa Vintage Festival and the building of stronger links with the Barossa Visitor Information Centre.
“We have maintained and grown a great relationship with that organisation and our team have a huge admiration for Jo Seabrook and that entire team,” said Cathy.
Cathy has witnessed the growth of the region’s tourism sector and noted the “remarkable investment”.
“I have also been able to meet tourism operators across the Barossa and those stakeholder relationships have been very rewarding,” said Cathy.
“I have a lot of admiration for business, individuals and organisations that make our tourism sector. We are incredibly blessed with that collaborative community spirit.
“We are the envy of colleagues statewide… the Barossa is well known to work together, rise above adversity and make things happen.
“We are so fortunate and I think people know that but it’s great to remind people, it doesn’t come by accident.”
Cathy will continue her volunteering roles in the community, including the Marananga Wine Show, the Seppeltsfield Road Biodiversity Group, which she established and the Seppeltsfield Road Business Alliance.
She looks forward to spending more time with husband, Grant and together they will continue to run their accommodation business in Marananga.
And while her departure from Tourism Barossa has been known for sometime, Cathy said the sector can remain confident going forward.