Jon Durdin joins Tourism Barossa as new chairman in 2020

IN GOOD HANDS: Recently retired chair of Tourism Barossa Chris Pfeiffer (right), of 11 years, officially handed over the leadership baton to Jon Durdin, also owner of Seppeltsfield Road Distillery.
IN GOOD HANDS: Recently retired chair of Tourism Barossa Chris Pfeiffer (right), of 11 years, officially handed over the leadership baton to Jon Durdin, also owner of Seppeltsfield Road Distillery.

A chat with recently retired Tourism Barossa chair Chris Pfeiffer and there's a strong sense that the region is in good hands with Jon Durdin taking over the reins.

Mr Pfeiffer has devoted more than a decade of his time to the board and was sadly farewelled for his services on February 5.

In leaving, he acknowledged the team, which grew to include roles in membership, events and social media, and the work of board members.

His legacy includes the Barossa Be Consumed campaign - enabling the region to capitalise on the growing trend of culinary tourism as a premier food and wine destination - and the growth of the tourism membership.

Meanwhile, the leap from board member to chairman was a more of a natural progression for Mr Durdin, owner of Seppeltsfield Road Distillery with wife Nicole.

He shared how his own positive time with Tourism Barossa when working towards opening his business in September 2018 led him to join the board in September 2019.

"I see Tourism Barossa with operators contributing to the overall improvement of this industry," he told Barossa Herald.

I see Tourism Barossa with operators contributing to the overall improvement of this industry.

Barossa Tourism new chair Jon Durdin

"We have these great tourism operators who give first-hand referrals to our visitors about the experiences we offer, which makes the Barossa connected and gives us personality and gives us realness," he said.

However, he highlighted "gaps" within the industry, such as funding support, which he says is one of his key objectives to tackle.

"We must ensure we build and capitalise on our brand, and do more in that space to grow our visitation," he said.

Further key achievements for the new chair involve driving more visitation by way of hosting world class events.

He refers to the biennial vintage festival as an excellent benchmark and the replacing of the annual gourmet weekend with a revitalised event.

Mr Durdin's current focus is on the challenges presented from the recent devastating bushfires which have ravaged neighbouring state tourism destinations.

"I am confident that we can help support ongoing industry success through this time."

Meanwhile, Mr Pfeiffer, who was heartily praised for his effective leadership, saw him early on create positive relationships with the state government, tourism stakeholders and the Barossa community, which will be continued by Mr Durdin with his corporate working background.

Yet all won't be lost, Mr Pfeiffer has indicated his eagerness to join the team of Barossa Ambassadors that visitors to the region first see when walking into the Barossa Visitor Centre doors at Tanunda.