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Tourism Australia appoints its first-ever female head

September 13, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tourism Australia has confirmed Phillipa Harrison as its new managing director, succeeding John O’Sullivan, who stepped down earlier this year to head up the adventure, tourism and leisure company Experience Co.

Harrison, who takes up her new position immediately, becomes the Australian national tourism organisation’s first-ever female head.

Formerly Tourism Australia’s executive general manager international – overseeing a network of international offices spanning 12 countries and managing airline relationships and distribution channels – Harrison has spent the past several months heading Tourism Australia as managing director, in an acting capacity.

Tourism Australia chairman, Bob East, said Harrison had been a stand-out candidate in the interview process.

“Phillipa has made an enormous contribution in her three years at Tourism Australia.  She has great support in the industry and I am confident that Tourism Australia is in the best of hands,” he said.

Harrison said the opportunity to lead Australia’s national tourism organisation represented a career high.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder to be given the chance to head up the Tourism Australia team. This is a period of change, challenge and opportunity for our industry,” she said.

Phillipa Harrison

“With competition for the global travel wallet and the demands of the international traveller ever increasing and both global and Australian tourism facing a number of significant headwinds, the need for a strong, cohesive and united industry has never been greater.

“My focus is very much on making sure that Tourism Australia continues to lead from the front, through creative and high impact marketing but also through the important distribution and partnership platforms we provide to industry.”

Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) welcomed confirmation of Harrison’s appointment.

TTF chief executive Margy Osmond described Harrison’s experience across government and the tourism sector as exceptional, saying she would be “an incredible asset to Tourism Australia and the industry”.

“Ms Harrison’s contribution to Tourism Australia to date has been outstanding and we look forward to continuing to work with her in her position of managing director,” Osmond said.

“The tourism industry is in great shape with Pip at the helm of our major destination marketing body.

“TTF and our members look forward to supporting Tourism Australia as it continues to successfully position and promote Australia’s world class tourism offering in what is a fiercely competitive global environment.”

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) also welcomed the appointment of Harrison as “a great outcome for the inbound tourism industry”.

“Pip is a fantastic appointment. She brings considerable experience and industry knowledge to one of the most important jobs in our industry,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said.

“The relationship between Tourism Australia, ATEC and the inbound industry is a true partnership in selling our tourism products to the world, and its success is the basis for the future growth of Australia’s tourism export sector.

“Pip has always been recognised as a leader with extensive hands-on experience across several facets of the tourism industry and this puts her in good stead to lead the industry into the next decade of its growth.”

The Exhibition and Event Association (EEAA) also welcomed Harrison’s appointment as Tourism Australia managing director.

“We are delighted to see that the selection panel saw fit to give this important opportunity to Phillipa,” said EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio.

“She has demonstrated her skills and expertise over previous years as part of the senior leadership team at Tourism Australia and it makes great sense to have promoted her into this role.”

“Tourism Australia has a tradition of providing an environment that allows both men and women to flourish and the EEAA is pleased to see that Tourism Australia has promoted Phillipa to be the first female to lead the organisation. She is an outstanding role model for men and women in all parts of the visitor economy.

“On behalf of the EEAA Board and the Association we extend our congratulations to Phillipa and the selection panel on the wise choice that they have made in appointing her as the new leader of Tourism Australia,” DiMascio said.

Edited by Peter Needham

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