Inaugural words from new President Mark Sarah, and 2020 reflections from outgoing President Naomi Dale

Dec 17, 2020

After four years at the helm of the NCAA ship as President, Naomi Dale is stepping into the newly created role of CEO for the Canberra Region Tourism Industry Council (CRTIC) – trading under NCAA – reporting to the President and Executive as a co-opted member of the Board.

Rather than go into the numerous achievements she has led our organisation to, we will instead just extend a sincere thank you and good luck, and allow her to reflect on the year we had:

“This year we have seen some incredible collaborations and outcomes despite the tumultuous environment including bushfires, hail and COVID-19.

Work has continued across all of the important activities of NCAA – Star ratings, accreditation, awards and NCETP amongst other things.

We were pleased to see the Awards funded again and re-shaped to create an industry development program in partnership with Visit Canberra for 2021. Although the awards both locally and nationally were put on hold for 2020, work has commenced for restarting the awards programs in 2021 so keep collecting that evidence and keep your eyes peeled.

I can’t believe how busy we all were despite the huge disruptions to business as usual. My meetings with the ATIC Board were moved to weekly as the pandemic proved to be a fast moving and complicated topic that needed regular updating include border situations, JobKeeper and Tourism Australia activities. We also worked to deliver a COVID recovery module and COVID-safe badge to members for free in order to support industry in the region and across Australia.

As you know, we have registered the Canberra Region Tourism Industry Council (CRTIC) – trading under NCAA – to house all of our national programs and I’m excited to be stepping into the CEO role for the CRTIC reporting to the President and Executive as a co-opted member of the Board.

I am looking forward to continuing the hard work and sharing our passion for tourism in the Canberra Region.

Wishing you and yours a safe and restful break over the festive season.

Stay well,


Stepping into the role of President, after being involved with the NCAA for years, is Mark Sarah. Most of you would already be familiar with Mark, so we’ll keep his introduction brief and let his words do the talking:

“2021 is a year that we have been looking forward to almost from the start of 2020. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

We have never seen a year quite like this one; as a person closing in on 60, I usually make the most of every day, month, and year, and not putting the finer point on it I have hit the downward slope of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a lot of good years left in me, but 2020 has tested my resolve. As I sit here reflecting on 2020, trying to imagine 2021 and what the new year will bring, I end up with more questions than answers.

One thing I know for sure is that the friendships, partnerships, and new connections we have all built over this past year will hold us in good stead for the future. As President of the NCAA, I see my job as one of working on our partnerships and connections, building a strong and united association of like-minded people and harnessing the passion we all have for the Tourism and Hospitality sector to place Canberra and its Region at front of mind for visitors planning a holiday within Australia.

One thing is for sure – things will probably never be the same again. But as a positive thinker, I feel this is a wonderful opportunity to reset and grow.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with you all and I’m excited to see what 2021 will bring.”

The Executive Board for 2021 will be:

Mark SarahPresidentCockington Green Gardens
Liz McRaeVice-PresidentNational Museum of Australia
Russell JacksonVice-PresidentNational Zoo & Aquarium
Naomi DaleCEO CRTIC (co-opted)University of Canberra
Megan MenzTreasurerNational Botanic Gardens
Cris KennedyBoard memberAustralian Parliament House
Megan ScottBoard memberAustralian War Memorial
Melissa BartonBoard memberACT Parks
Roslyn HullBoard memberNational Capital Authority
Anthony NiravongBoard memberOld Bus Depot Markets
Stephen LindsayBoard memberCapital Country Holiday Park
Garry WatsonBoard member (co-opted)National Capital Education Tourism Project
Debra BeethamBoard member (co-opted)National Capital Attractions Association

2020 has been challenging for everyone, but especially for those of us in the tourism industry. We would like to extend everyone our warmest thanks for all of your support throughout the year, we couldn’t have done it without our amazing Members. From all of us at the National Capital Attractions Association, we wish you a Merry Christmas and look forward to working with you in 2021.

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