Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison.
New Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison.

The next leader of Australia’s primary inbound tourism body – Tourism Australia – was named overnight as current Acting Managing Director Phillipa Harrison was confirmed to continue in the role in a permanent capacity.

Harrison succeeds John O’Sullivan in the role, who departed in June to take up a role in the private sector as CEO of Experience Co.

Formerly TA’s Executive General Manager International, Harrison’s role previously oversaw a network of international offices while managing relationships with airlines, distribution channels and other industry stakeholders. Harrison has been with Tourism Australia for three years.

Harrison becomes the first female Managing Director in Tourism Australia’s history and said the opportunity to take the helm 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.

“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 Australia Chairman, Bob East, said Harrison was a standout candidate throughout the recruitment process, saying he was confident the organisation was “in the best of hands”.

Australian Tourism Export Council Managing Director, Peter Shelley, said Harrison brought extensive experience and knowledge to one of the most important jobs in the industry.

“She has an engaging personal style, is well-credentialed and highly respected throughout the industry and we congratulate her and wish her every success.”

Australia’s two major hotel industry advocacy bodies, Accommodation Association of Australia and Tourism Accommodation Australia, joined in wishing Harrison every success in her new role.

“Ms Harrison’s extensive experience in the tourism industry and her contribution for over two years in the role of Executive General Manager of International, ensure that Tourism Australia will be well-positioned for growth,” AAoA CEO, Dean Long said.

“I believe Ms Harrison will be a great asset to the entire industry and have confidence that with her at the helm, Tourism Australia will continue to go from strength to strength,” TAA’s Michael Johnson echoed.