Building community support for tourism, adding more conference facilities and attracting more international visitors are on the agenda for the new Chairman of Destination Port Stephens (DPS), Allan Ray OAM.
Mr Ray – an award-winning business developer and philanthropist – owns the boutique Nelson Bay resort, tourist, Marty’s at Little Beach, with his wife Sue. Mr Ray is one of three new Directors on the DPS Board for 2016. He joins newcomers Simon Glover – Mercure Newcastle Airport General Manager, and Deb Stretton – Events Manager for d’Albora Marinas Nelson Bay.
Mr Ray received an Order of Australia (OAM) medal for his work in tourism and youth employment and works with his wife to donate resources to children and schools in need in Vietnam and Cambodia. Mr Ray was one of the founding directors of Hunter Tourism and has raised more than $12 million from both Federal and State Governments for tourism.
Joining the nine-member Board of Destination Port Stephens for the first time, Mr Ray said he looked forward to building on the success of Destination Port Stephens as an autonomous, members-supported body dedicated to expanding Port Stephens’ thriving $400 million-a-year visitor economy.
“Destination Port Stephens is a well-oiled machine that has successfully marketed the region domestically and internationally and I hope I can add some fresh ideas to build on that achievement,” said Mr Ray, who has lived in Port Stephens for 12 years and worked in the tourism industry for 30 years.
“I’m passionate about getting more of the community behind our vital visitor economy because tourism, as an economic driver of our region, is to everyone’s advantage,” he said. “I also believe Port Stephens would benefit significantly from new, major conference facilities which will add to visitor numbers and assist with seasonality. I am also keen to see the region lure even more visitors from overseas, particularly the rapidly growing market of China.”
Mr Ray also praised the work of his predecessor, Michael Aylmer, who has been DPS Chairman for the past six years and on the Board for another four, with stints as Director also in the 1980s and 90s.
In return, Mr Aylmer wished Mr Ray well, adding that although he was no longer on the Board, he still hoped to support Port Stephens’ tourism industry in other ways in the future.
“I’m glad I was able to oversee Destination Port Stephens’ transition into the strong, successful and self-sufficient body it is today and I wish Mr Ray and the Board well in the year ahead,” Mr Aylmer said.