A re-organisation of Tourism Australia's business events operations has seen the departure of Penny Lion, Executive General Manager Events, effective 1 July, 2021.
The former head of Business Events Australia will continue to serve Tourism Australia in an advisory capacity. "This will also assist us in further embedding business events within our organisation,” Tourism Australia's Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said.
Robin Mack has been promoted to Executive General Manager – Business Events Australia, while continuing his commercial role on the Tourism Australia executive team.
As well, Business Events marketing will move to the wider Tourism Australia marketing team, led by Chief Marketing Officer Susan Coghill.
Tourism Australia confirmed that the changes to its business events operations were in response to the ongoing uncertainty affecting tourism globally. The decision follows a recent global review of the agency’s business plans ahead of the new (2021-22) financial year.
“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,” Harrison stated.
“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.
In the new financial year, the focus will be on maximising the immediate opportunities to rebuild tourism.
Harrison assured that Tourism Australia would continue to support the tourism industry through its marketing and trade programmes aimed at travellers and the business events sector both in Australia and overseas.
Lion said the decision to depart Tourism Australia was a difficult one.
“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. 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," she said.
Lion’s achievements during her time at Tourism Australia have included consolidating Tourism Australia’s approach to marketing Australia as a business events destination internationally through B2B marketing and trade marketing programmes; overseeing the implementation of the Business Events Bid Fund Program, Advance Program and Business Events Boost program; the launch of the Australia Next publication and the Australia Innovates series.