Honouring his service to the now thriving tourism industry, Mr Watling was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia yesterday for his contribution and commitment over the years.
‘It was quite a surprise, certainly a great honour that I feel very privileged to receive,’ Mr Watling said.
‘One which actually reflects the work of many people who are dedicated to the tourism sector and with whom it has been a pleasure to work and be associated with over a 43-year period.’
In this time, Mr Watling was the Tourism Co-ordinates foundation director, providing tourism consultancy services to government and industry projects, Minister for Tourism policy adviser, WA Tourism Commission inaugural general manager and Qantas Australian National Tourism Awards judge.
The semi-retiree is still involved, continuing his work with Tourism Co-ordinates and as a Marine Facilities Advisory Committee member for Fremantle fishing boat harbour. He said the highlight of his career had been watching the State’s tourism rapidly grow.
‘We are very isolated, so getting people to come to this side of the world is never easy,’ he said.
‘We now have a tourism industry that is positively recognised for what it is.’
Mr Watling was just one of the 783 Australians recognised on The Queen’s Birthday 2014 Honours List for their commendable services across a broad cross-section of the community.
Other northern suburbs’ honourees included Duncraig resident Gregory Martin, who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to transport through the development of policy and industry reform; Warwick resident Franco Martinelli awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal along with Inspector Geoffrey DeSanges awarded the Australian Police Medal.