• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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8th July 2020

 

Dear VTIC Member,

RE: Future Direction of VTIC

2020 has been a challenging year for the tourism industry and I understand that many of you are going through tough times as a result of summer bushfires and then the COVID-19 restrictions. Throughout this year, VTIC has been a strong voice for the tourism industry and has played a significant leadership role for our Industry and a focal point for quality information on the challenges we have faced and the support that will assist tourism businesses in Victoria.

To add to the industry’s challenges, VTIC is currently going through a process of defining what the future looks like for the peak industry voice for tourism in Victoria. As you may be aware, VTIC has operated under an Agreement with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) for the delivery of designated VTIC services. This Agreement is due to expire in late 2020 and will not be renewed.

The VTIC Board has spent a large amount of time deliberating over the future of our organisation and how your voice would be best placed to deliver for our members into the future. In considering the future of VTIC, the Board has produced the attached ‘Future Directions Paper’, which outlines the options available for the structure and governance of VTIC.

We understand that the members of VTIC are proud and passionate about the tourism sector and hold strong views on the way in which their voice is represented. We understand that the timing on this strategy also comes at a difficult period for our industry, however the current crisis emphasises the need for a strong voice for the tourism sector.

We welcome feedback from our members to ensure that we are taking these next steps in the best interests of our members and that our organisation remains a strong voice for the tourism, events and visitor economy. Please use the link provided at the end of the options paper to give your thoughts and feedback on the future of your industry membership organisation.

Kind regards,

Matt McDonald
Chair
Victorian Tourism Industry Limited

Future Directions

Background

  • The tourism and events industries were aligned in a single industry association some 10 years ago to create one voice for the sector. VTIC was established as the peak tourism industry body VTI Ltd (trading as VTIC) that would work closely with the peak general industry body, VCCI. This relationship has been in place since the inception and is structured around an Agreement for the provision of operational and corporate services.
  • This Agreement underpins the operating relationship between VCCI and VTIC and is due to expire in late 2020. VTIC has been seeking a pathway forward with VCCI since late 2019.
  • Victorian Tourism Industry Limited (VTIC) is a company Limited by Guarantee with its own Board of Directors and constitution. VTIC is a membership organisation owned by the members. VTIC members are the members of VTI Ltd and services are delivered by VCCI.
  • The current structure raises issues around governance, effective control, financial management and Not-for-Profit status for the Board of VTIC.
  • The current contractual arrangements between VTIC and VCCI are somewhat of a ‘half-way house’ where VTIC is neither part of VCCI nor independent. This creates challenges for VTIC staff as at times the lines of communication and delegation can be, and have been, blurred.
  • Discussions have been held between VCCI and VTIC to develop a new working relationship and to create a more equitable and workable arrangement. However, it has now become evident that there is no option for a new agreement or extension of the current arrangements.

Pathways Forward

The following options outline the structure by which VTIC can continue to deliver the current membership services. This includes the components of membership currently included in the membership packages such as Workplace Relations Helpline, Training, Advocacy etc.

Option #1

VTIC to be disbanded and tourism membership and advocacy services to be delivered via another broader business Industry body. (VCCI or other business membership organisation). 
This option involves the winding up of VTIC as a separate entity and the membership to transition to another membership organisation that would provide membership services for tourism alongside their existing offering.

This option would require the wind up of the VTIC Board and a fully independent voice for tourism.

Pros:
– Builds on the strength and systems of a larger organisation
– Reduced risk of financial challenges
– Advocacy leverage from larger organisation
– Shared resources
– Access to existing member servicing systems e.g. training packages, Workplace Relations Helpline

Cons:
– Loss of VTIC brand and membership
– No Board or membership representation with effective control of assets/work
– No singularly independent voice for the tourism and events sector
– Member confusion with the other organisation’s existing membership
– Conflicts of opinion over policy positions
– Lack of leadership dedicated to the tourism sector
– Future direction, leadership, and resources at the mercy of a third party

Option #2

VTIC to Operate with an independent Board and CEO with some services outsourced
This option involves VTIC remaining as a separate entity with its own membership, independent Board and CEO. Under this model, VTIC would have a number of sub-contracts with service provides (VCCI and/or others) that would deliver the majority of the VTIC services such as membership support, media, communications and advocacy. This option would be more in line with the current arrangements whereby VCCI delivers designated services on behalf of VTIC.

Pros:
– Membership retains control of industry voice and direction
– Member funds are retained in an organisation owned by the membership and reinvested in Industry’s future
– Ability to respond to tourism-related issues quickly and effectively
– Maintains an independent Board
– Clear tourism and events messaging without cross over from other sectors
– Improve the profile of tourism and events sector
– An independent team working directory for tourism businesses
– Ability to draw experience and insight from other organisations
– Contract management reflects activity and cost to supply

Cons:
– Contractual issues or potential reliance with sub-contractors
– Process issues with third parties
– Higher reliance on VTIC CEO
– Future sustainability during extended or repeated crisis
– Long term fixed costs with subcontracts

Option #3

VTIC to operate as a fully self-sufficient membership organisation
This option involves VTIC remaining as a separate entity with its own membership, independent Board, CEO and the majority of staff. Under this model, VTIC would then deliver the majority of services such as membership support, media, communications and advocacy. There may be a small number of outsourced services such as an ‘employment advice line’.

Pros:
– Membership retains control of industry voice and direction
– Member funds are retained in an organisation owned by the membership
– Ability to respond to tourism-related issues quickly and effectively
– Maintains an independent Board
– Clear messaging without cross over from other sectors
– Improve the profile of tourism and events sector
– An independent team working directly for Victorian tourism businesses
– Clear control of costs without large third-party contracts
– Freedom to align with other industry advocates as the need arises

Cons:
– Higher financial independence and risk
– Higher reliance on VTIC CEO, Board and Staff
– Higher risk on membership and independent directors’ responsibilities
– Future sustainability during extended or repeated crisis
– Responsibility on directors for employment and staffing

 

See table below for a full summary of the options outlined above and the link to member survey…..

The VTIC Board is seeking the insights and opinions of the members on the options outlined above. Please use the following link to provide your thoughts and feedback on the future of VTIC.

 

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