Mantra Group’s CEO, Bob East, has been named the new Chair of Tourism Australia in a massive boost to the hotel industry.

Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, made the announcement, which firmly places the nation’s accommodation industry at the forefront of tourism.

“With more than 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry, Mr East will provide great leadership for Tourism Australia,” Ciobo said.

The Minister also announced Anna Guillan (Regional Director, Sales and Marketing Australia and New Zealand for Kerzner International), also an existing Board member, will assume the position of Deputy Chair.

“Earlier this year, Ms Guillan received an Order of Australia for her service to the Australian tourism industry and to the community,” Ciobo said.

East replaces former IHG executive Tony South in the role of Chair, who is retiring from the Board along with Andrew Fairley.

“I thank retiring members Tony South and Andrew Fairley for their contribution to the tourism sector, one of Australia’s biggest drivers of economic growth,” Ciobo said.

Joining the Tourism Australia board are former CEO and Managing Director of Event Hospitality and Entertainment, David Seargeant, and AHA Western Australia CEO, Bradley Woods, in a further boost to the hotel industry.

“For 25 years Bradley Woods has been one of Australia’s leading advocates for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry. I am pleased to welcome him to the Board as one of two new Directors,” Ciobo said.

“I also welcome David Seargeant to Board. As CEO and Managing Director of Event Hospitality and Entertainment for 16 years Mr Seargeant brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board,” he said.

David Seargeant

Ciobo said Tourism Australia does “valuable work in supporting the growth of the industry by promoting Australia as a leisure and business events destination. It continues to build on its marketing success with the ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ umbrella campaign, with the launch of the Aquatic and Coastal and Restaurant Australia campaigns”.

“The extensive knowledge and industry experience of all Board members will help contribute to the continued success of Australia’s tourism industry,” Ciobo said. “I look forward to working with our new Board members, Chair and Deputy Chair.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) Chair, Martin Ferguson, has welcomed the new appointments to the Tourism Australia Board of Directors.

“It is particularly pleasing to see a person of the caliber of David Seargeant appointed,” he said. “Mr Seargeant’s knowledge of this industry is second to none.

“He currently plays an important role on the Tourism Accommodation Australia Board, he is an experienced operator, respected across the industry and will be a great addition to the Tourism Australia Board.

“I would also like to congratulate Bob East on taking the position of chair and Anna Guillan AM on becoming deputy chair – there’s no doubt they will provide great leadership for our industry and I look forward to working with them in their new roles.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the contribution retiring Tourism Australia Board members Andrew Fairley and Tony South have made to the tourism industry,” Ferguson said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management