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South gives way to East at top of Tourism Australia

September 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tourism Australia has appointed Queensland tourism identity and Mantra Group chief executive Bob East as chair, replacing Tony South who took over from Geoff Dixon in 2015.

The move has been no secret in the industry for several weeks. Queensland Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said yesterday East was a deserving candidate to lead tourism at a national level.

“I wish Bob the best of luck in his new role and thank him for his contribution to growing tourism in Queensland during his past two years as chair of the board of Tourism and Events Queensland,” she said.

“He stepped into the role at TEQ at a pivotal moment, with Queensland on the cusp of record tourism growth especially in the Asian market. His 22 years of experience in the tourism industry proved invaluable for TEQ and Queensland tourism.”

Bob East

Jones said East oversaw a re-energising of the Queensland brand and the growth of the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar to an asset worth more than AUD 600 million.

“His understanding on the future of tourism and the emerging Asian market has already helped opened up new air routes between China and Queensland,” she said.

East, chief executive of the Mantra Group since 2007, has developed the group into one of the leading accommodation providers and marketers in Australasia. He moves into the role as chair of Tourism Australia after being appointed to the board in 2016.

Jones said TEQ would appoint a new chair “in the near future”.

Australia’s Tourism Minister, Steven Ciobo, said East’s more than 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry would ensure great leadership for Tourism Australia.

Existing Tourism Australia board member Anna Guillan will take the role of deputy chair. She is regional sales and marketing director for Kerzner International, which until recently ran Queensland’s Hayman Island. Earlier this year, Guillan received an Order of Australia for her service to the Australian tourism industry and to the community.

Meanwhile, Bradley Woods, for 25 years one of Australia’s leading advocates for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industries, has become a Tourism Australia director. So has David Seargeant, for 16 years chief executive and managing director of Event Hospitality and Entertainment.

Written by Peter Needham

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