The Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance says it has been extremely active developing and delivering industry support initiatives and advocating on behalf of the tourism sector, while also getting on with the normal governance requirements.
At its AGM held late November, Greg Miller, Sarah-Jane Tilbury, Susi Whitehead and Pierre Gregor were nominated and elected by the membership to the KITA board.
In accordance of KITA's constitution, the chairperson and deputy are elected by the Board at the first meeting held after every AGM.
At the board meeting held on Dec. 16, KITA's long standing chairman Pierre Gregor advised that after almost 14 years in the position it was time to pass on the baton and that he would not make himself available for election.
This did not come as a surprise to the board in that Pierre had flagged in 2021 that he would not continue as chairperson post the AGM.
The board was unanimous in electing Susi Whitehead as the chairperson.
Susi is known to the Island as the manager of KI Business Hub but together with her husband Bruno also manages their tourism business, the Dragonfly Guesthouse in Kingscote.
Susi said that she was pleased to be elected to the board by the membership.
"I happily accepted the confidence of the board in electing me as Chair and look forward to the role and working with the board," Susi said.
"Pierre was nominated and accepted the position of deputy chair as part of a process to assist with transition and provide continuity with the numerous projects and initiatives that are currently underway."
The board also considered the selection of board-appointed board members and have appointed Mike Grieg of the Department for Environment and Water, Greg Georgopoulos of the KI Council and former KI commissioner Wendy Campana to the board.
"We welcome their expertise and experience and as a Board look forward to continuing to advocate, market and work in the best interest of the membership, the island visitor economy and the island more generally."
Mr Gregor said KITA continued to drive and support a range of activities that are aimed at attracting visitation, enhancing the visitor experience and improving business capacity and capability.
"It's great to see that the painting of the silo's at Kingscote has commenced and even in its early stages the work looks impressive," he said.
"Contractors have also been engaged and have begun work with Kingscote, American River and Penneshaw Progress Associations on improving the interpretation and visitor experience along township walking trails with the aim of elevating them to must do experiences resulting in more time being spent in township precincts and greater spend."
Over the last 12 months, KITA has engaged with industry, the council and progress associations to identify signage needing to be replaced due to bushfire damage but also any additional tourism signage to help visitor wayfinding, he said.
With assistance from the SA Tourism Commission and Department for Infrastructure and Transport, KITA has arranged the placement of over 25 tourism signs to help guide visitors to sights and experiences and generally make island touring easier, he said.
"The visitor economy will also benefit from the engagement of Flight Centre Travel group to deliver a KI marketing campaign," he said.
"This will commence end January and is aimed at supporting flights, transport operators and accommodation providers.
"Kangaroo Island SeaLink are also involved with KITAs collaborative marketing efforts targeting the interstate self-drive market.
"Due to funding timeline constraints many of these activities are happening concurrently.
"The farm gate and cellar door sector have working with a sales strategist to help increase sales and over 80 tourism operators have engaged in the industry one on one mentoring program.
"Participants are receiving assistance with business capability and capacity building and includes a focus on improving digital presence and improving their visitors' experience."
Susi Whitehead said these activities were only a snapshot of the significant work being supported by the Recovery for Regional Tourism program designed to grow visitation, spend and enhance industry capability and capacity thereby helping to grow the visitor economy.
"Other areas of focus include the initiation of a three year marketing strategy and assisting the development of existing and emerging events via an events specialist, the development of a guardian program to support visitors who wish to use their travel as a force for good, assist sustainability and help leave the destination better off," she said.