Tourism Australia Michael Issenberg
Newly appointed Tourism Australia Chairman, Michael Issenberg.

Veteran Accor executive, Michael Issenberg, has been named as the new Chairman of Tourism Australia, as the organisation continues to prepare for the reopening of international borders to short-term visitors in the coming months.

A three-time Asia-Pacific Hotelier of the Year at the HM Awards, Issenberg’s appointment has been welcomed by Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, who said Tourism Australia would play a vital role in supporting our tourism sector as restrictions are lifted.

“Australia’s tourism industry is looking forward to the fast-approaching day when we welcome back international visitors,” Minister Tehan said.

Australia is preparing to reopen to international visitors in the early months of 2022.

“Mr Issenberg’s leadership will be crucial to promote Australia’s world-leading tourist attractions and entice even more visitors to holiday in our country.

“He brings to the role a wealth of experience and great energy and commitment to support the industry and its 660,000 workers and businesses.

Issenberg replaces Bob East, who has served as Chairman of Tourism Australia for the past four years following his initial appointment to the Board a year earlier. Minister Tehan expressed his sincere gratitude to East for his service to leadership and tourism in his two terms on the Board.

Outgoing Tourism Australia Chair, Bob East, who has served in the role since 2017.

“The Government thanks Mr East for his commitment and service to Australian tourism and the 660,000 jobs the sector supports,” Mr Tehan said.

“Mr East played an important leadership role in developing Tourism Australia’s strategy and executing its tourism marketing initiatives.

“He led campaigns to shine a light on the wonders of regional Australia, encouraging visitors to discover parts of the nation they were less familiar with and he recognised that business events were a huge opportunity for the industry and oversaw the establishment of the Business Events Bid Fund.”

Tourism Australia has had great success from its ‘Holiday Here This Year’ intrastate campaigns around Australia.

Along with the departing East, Tourism Australia has also paid tribute to Baillie Lodges Co-Founder, Hayley Baillie, who departs after six years on the Board. Baillie was a driving force behind Tourism Australia’s Food and Wine Advisory Board as part of the Restaurant Australia campaign.

Additional movements on the Tourism Australia Board sees the addition of RACQ Non-Executive Director, Annabel Dolphin. SeaLink Travel Group Chairman, Jeffrey Ellison, will serve a second term as Deputy Chairman, while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Tourism Division Chairman, John Hart, was also reappointed for a second three-year term.