The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), originally the Tourism Task Force, was established as a not-for-profit company in November 1989 to provide a strong voice for the tourism and aviation sectors in the wake of Australia's devastating pilots’ strike that year and to address a number of major issues impacting the industry at that time, including a reduction of the Australian Tourist Commission budget; the investment malaise affecting hotel ownership; and the political inertia governing the development of Sydney Airport's third runway.
Under the chairmanship of former federal Tourism Minister, the Hon John Brown AO, and with the support of TTF’s first CEO Susan Hunt, TTF immediately bolstered the industry’s fortunes by securing funding of $23 million from the Hawke government for a campaign to boost domestic tourism after the pilots’ strike.
Over the next 18 years, TTF built on its early successes and secured its position as the country’s peak advocacy group for the tourism, aviation, transport and investment sectors, delivering its own financial and membership security.
In 2002, John Brown retired from TTF and was succeeded by Australia’s most distinguished business leader in airline and travel distribution, Leslie Cassar AM. TTF’s charter was expanded to better embrace aviation and transport. The following year, TTF rebranded and became the Tourism & Transport Forum to reflect this new direction.
Former NSW Minister for Tourism & Roads, Transport, and the Sydney Olympics Bid, the Hon Bruce Baird AM, took over the chairmanship in 2008 and continues to lead TTF’s Advisory Board.
TTF’s uncompromising advocacy, through a 200-strong membership base, influential political and stakeholder networks, major events and high profile media campaigns of our research and policy agenda, has helped secure major reforms for the industries it represents. These include:
- Construction of a third runway at Sydney Airport and subsequent privatisation of the Federal Airports Corporation network;
- Introduction of the nation's first infrastructure bond scheme;
- Delivering Project X – an outline of the tourism industry’s decline since the 2000 Sydney Olympics and a call for government to review the supply-side issues impeding growth;
- Accelerated depreciation and amortisation schedules, plus tax and regulatory reform, to stimulate hotel investment;
- Delivery of the first ever national policy white papers for the tourism industry and the aviation sector;
- Securing funding for capital city tourism infrastructure, including convention and exhibition space, cultural and sporting facilities, and supporting the development of tourism precincts;
- Securing billions of dollars of funding (and reform momentum) for public sector marketing agencies across tourism organisations, convention bureaux, event corporations and brand councils;
- Introduction of public private partnerships and privatisation to fund public transport infrastructure and operations;
- Sponsoring the establishment of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and lobbying for the creation of the Building Australia Fund.
At the best of times, TTF played a crucial role in the planning and preparation for the Sydney Olympic Games, the Rugby World Cup and Melbourne's Commonwealth Games. At the worst of times, TTF provided strong leadership through crises such as 9/11, the Ansett collapse, SARS and the global financial crisis.
It is this ability to marshal the industry behind essential policy objectives that sets TTF apart as Australia’s peak industry group for tourism, transport, aviation and investment.
In December 2010, John Lee was appointed Chief Executive, bringing his wealth of experience in public and private sector management to the role.
Read more about TTF's history in Twenty One Years Of Leadership.