A new senior management team has been established for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia drawing on years of international hospitality management experience.
On May 23, the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) completed its acquisition of Ayers Rock Resort, acquiring all six hotels, campground, associated infrastructure, Connellan Airport and employee village at the Yulara tourism complex at Uluru.
The acquisition saw the ILC change the name of its ILC Tourism subsidiary to Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, reflecting the change in ownership and heralding a new era of Indigenous tourism and educational development at Uluru and across Australia.
In Sydney, Koos Klein has taken on the role of Managing Director of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, while Ray Stone becomes Executive General Manager Sales, Marketing and Distribution. Also based in Sydney Andrew Williams joins as Executive General Manager Finance.
Based at Ayers Rock Resort, Manfred Pieper has joined as Executive General Manager Operations, while Paul Barrett continues as Executive General Manager Human Resources.
Following a sabbatical, Klein joins from Hilton Hotels Corporation where he spent 11 years, most recently as Area President Asia Pacific. Klein has spent most of his hospitality career with Accor and Hilton. For Accor, Klein held several positions including six years in Sydney as Chief Executive Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Stone’s career in hospitality sales and marketing spans more than 35 years with Hilton, Westin, Shangri-La and Accor, where he held Director of Sales and Marketing and Vice President Corporate Marketing roles with Westin Hotels in the United States. Most recently Stone worked for Accor, with the past six years as Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing for Accor Asia-Pacific.
Pieper is an international hotelier with a career with Hilton Hotels Corporation spanning more than 40 years. He has held a range of General Manager positions in Germany, France, the UK and Guam, and was also Vice President Operations for Hilton in Japan. Before joining Ayers Rock Resort he was General Manager of the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok.
Klein said the appointment of such experienced hoteliers to the Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia team demonstrated a commitment to providing first class experiences for visitors to Ayers Rock Resort, and to the training and employment of Indigenous staff.
“This is a really exciting new chapter for Ayers Rock Resort,” said Klein. “We look forward to expanding our employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians and providing visitors with a genuine and authentic Indigenous experience at Uluru, the symbol of iconic Aboriginal Australia.”
Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). Under the new owners, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia will operate Ayers Rock Resort and Longitude 131° as a world-class resort offering authentic travel and cultural experiences, with all profits going towards supporting the ILC’s Indigenous programs across Australia.
Additional tourism interests managed by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia include Home Valley Station in the Kimberley and the new Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre currently under construction north of Cairns.