Tourism Australia boss steps down

John O’Sullivan will leave the organisation to take on a new CEO role.

Tourism Australia has confirmed managing director John O’Sullivan will step down from his role in June.

Having been with the organisation since 2014, O’Sullivan has decided to move on to a new role as CEO and executive director of adventure tourism and leisure company Experience Co.

Tourism Australia executive general manager international Phillipa Harrison will act as interim managing director until a permanent replacement is found.

O’Sullivan said he has had enjoyed “five terrific years at Tourism Australia, leading an incredibly talented team”.

“The opportunity to lead an ASX-listed company such as Experience Co. is an incredibly exciting prospect and keeps me in an industry I really did not want to leave,” he said.

“It’s with mixed emotions that I now move on, but I feel I’m leaving the organisation in a really good position. Australian tourism is performing well, with international arrivals and spending both at record levels.

“We’ve reshaped our marketing narrative. Our Tourism 2020 journey is nearly complete, with the $115 billion target set back in 2009 already achieved, and I firmly believe Tourism Australia is driving the right strategy to take the industry to new levels.

“I’ve always felt that the role of Tourism Australia is to provide a platform for our industry to better tell its stories. Through our campaigns and our other activities, I think we’re doing that better than ever.”.

In a statement, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham thanked O’Sullivan for his service.

“John has made an immense contribution to Australia’s tourism industry over the past five years and leaves the organisation at a time when Australian tourism continues to go from strength-to-strength, with international arrivals and spending both at record levels,” he said.

“He has been instrumental in leading our efforts to promote Australia to the world and creating cutting-edge campaigns such as Dundee and Undiscover aimed at attracting more high value overseas travellers to Australia as well as ramping up efforts to promote Australia as a business event destination. 

“I wish John all the best in his new role where he will return to the private sector.”

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