Linda Hall's parting legacy for tourism

INDUSTRY leaders have paid tribute to former council staffer Linda Hall’s commitment to our area.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council confirmed after 23 years with council, Ms Hall took a voluntary redundancy from her position as manager tourism economic development.

Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce treasurer Peter Buckland said Ms Hall was the ultimate professional who advanced the tourism industry greatly under her watch as tourism manager.

Greater Port Macquarie Tourism Association president Janette Hyde said Ms Hall was a wonderful tourism manager and a real asset to our community. 

Macquarie Waters owner Kathy Balodis said Ms Hall served on quite a few boards and she worked to make sure the destination was represented in all opportunities.

“She always believed in the importance of a strong partnership with industry,” Mrs Balodis said. 

Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce president Hadyn Oriti agreed Ms Hall had been a great asset for the council.

“The events she has been able to attract to Port Macquarie and able to maintain are testament to that work,” he said.

Arts and Health Australia executive director Margret Meagher acknowledged the Hello Koalas project had come to fruition after 18 months through discussions with Ms Hall about achieving the core objectives of cultural tourism and economic development.

The project will benefit the tourism sector, economic and community cultural development and koala conservation.

Ms Hall took up the role as manager tourism and economic development in May after the merger of the council’s economic development and tourism sections. Before that she was the council’s tourism manager. An independent evaluation is examining how tourism and economic development services are delivered.

Council’s director corporate and business services Craig Swift-McNair said the consultant’s report on the review of economic development and tourism was being evaluated and more will be known in the first quarter of 2013.

“In the interim, tourism and economic development operations will continue to report to the group manager business services as has been the case for the bulk of 2012,” he said.

“Delivery of the programs and services to the tourism and business communities has always been a team effort and I’m confident that the staff in place will continue to work successfully in this transition period.”

WORKING with others to develop and promote our destination has been no chore for Linda Hall.

The former high school teacher started at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council 23 years ago as a Life Be In It coordinator. An opportunity at the Port Macquarie Visitor Information was Ms Hall’s springboard into tourism.

Ms Hall’s council career culminated with her appointment in May as manager tourism and economic development. She said every day was an absolute pleasure.

“I’ve been very very lucky to be able to really be part of so many good opportunities and it started at the visitor information centre a number of years ago,” Ms Hall said. She recalls the step up to the tourism manager role as another great opportunity.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had so many passionate people around me,” Ms Hall said. She also took on the major events portfolio which she said was a “wonderful challenge.”

Ms Hall, reflecting on the past six months as manager tourism and economic development, said: “There are some fantastic people who get what this area is about,” she said.

Mrs Hall said her time at council was done.

“I’ve been very selfish because I stayed there for a long time,” she said.

“It’s time for someone else to make a difference.”

In a farewell and thank you email to friends and colleagues, Ms Hall said her various roles roles held always involved working actively with a passionate business community and inspiring individuals from various industry sectors and organisations to develop and promote our destination as a great place to live, to visit, to invest and to grow.

“I have decided to take a break and rediscover the beautiful beaches and hinterland and all the unique and wonderful local products and services that I have spent many years telling others about,” the email said.

“I look forward to seeking new challenges and opportunities in the next phase of my career and life in 2013, and hopefully in this beautiful region that has so much to offer.”

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