Penny Lion to depart Tourism Australia

The decision follows a global review of the agency’s future business plans and structure.

Tourism Australia has today confirmed a number of changes to its business events operations, including the departure of Penny Lion following more than 10 years with the organisation.

The changes will see a reorganisation of Tourism Australia’s international, events and business events operations from 1 July 2021, as a result of a recent global review of the agency’s business plans ahead of the next financial year.

Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said the departure of Lion, who currently holds the role of executive general manager, events, was among the most significant changes to the business.

“After more than 10 years with Tourism Australia we are sadly farewelling Penny Lion who has done such a tremendous job heading up both events and business events in our organisation,” she said.

“Penny’s vision combined with strong commercial business acumen has resulted in business events being elevated within Tourism Australia with excellent results.”

Lion’s achievements during her time at Tourism Australia include consolidating Tourism Australia’s approach to marketing Australia as a business events destination internationally, overseeing the implementation of the Business Events Bid Fund Program, Advance Program and Business Events Boost program and the launch of the Australia Next publication and the Australia Innovates series.

Lion to continue in an advisory capacity

Following her departure, Lion will continue to assist Tourism Australia in an advisory capacity for business events.

“Our intention now is to continue with Penny’s vision by integrating business events more across the whole business,” said Harrison.

On her departure, Lion said working at Tourism Australia and working with the business events sector has been a great honour.

“Australia has a fantastic business events offering and there will no doubt continue to be strong demand to host international meetings, congresses and corporate incentives here in the future once we get beyond the immediate crisis,” she said.

“And the advantage of business events are the long lead times so that the work of Tourism Australia with industry can continue to deliver successful business outcomes in the future.”

As a result of the changes, Tourism Australia’s current Business Events Australia distribution and partnerships teams will report to Robin Mack, who has been promoted to executive general manager at Business Events Australia, in addition to his commercial role on the executive team.

Business Events marketing will move to the wider marketing team, led by chief marketing officer Susan Coghill, which will aim to achieve greater integration of business events across the agency.

Ongoing pandemic impacts led to reorganisation

Harrison said the restructure comes in response to the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic on tourism.

“The past 18 months have been the most challenging that our industry has ever faced and throughout the crisis we have continued to adapt our business operations to place resources where they are needed most,” she said.

“With international tourism remaining on hold due to ongoing travel restrictions and border closures to manage the spread of COVID-19, Tourism Australia’s recovery plans continue to focus on rebuilding domestic tourism for leisure and business events, whilst also targeting emerging opportunities in markets such as New Zealand.

“To ensure our organisation is well placed to maximise the immediate opportunities to rebuild tourism, whilst also planning for those ahead, we are making some changes to our operations for the approaching financial year.”

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