Sydney base for new CEO
Wednesday, 28th September, 2011
By Erica Visser
Inland NSW Tourism, an alliance which promotes tourism in country areas, has appointed a new CEO who will live in Sydney for the duration of his role.
Graham Perry has extensive experience in global travel, tourism and hospitality as a former CEO for Traveland and Sales Distribution for Disneyland Paris, among other roles.
Local tourism operator Hugh Gough said that while he did not know the details, Mr Perry’s experience did not seem to fit the role.
“On the face of it my immediate response to that seems to be that it’s entirely inappropriate that he’s been elected,” said Mr Gough.
“Why would you have a CEO who’s got international experience but not regional?”
However, Far West Tourism and Industry Alliance Chairman, Michael McCulkin, said the fact that Mr Perry was living in Sydney was a good thing.
“One of the benefits of having a new CEO living out at Sydney is that it’s a very good opportunity to be working closely with Destination Australia (formerly Tourism NSW),” Mr McCulkin said.
“He’ll also be in close consultation with marketing people and it will give him more opportunities.
“Keeping in mind that the regional NSW area is spread far and wide, he’s actually fairly central.”
Mr McCulkin said that he was confident the right decision was made in appointing Mr Perry and that locals had to focus on the “big picture”.
“We need to step above regional tourism,” Mr McCulkin said.
“We consider him to be ideal for the job and were surprised at the high calibre range of applicants for the job.
“Our choice was the right one”.
Mr McCulkin asserted that while Mr Perry might not have much experience in regional tourism, he was very passionate about it.
“We weren’t necessarily looking for someone who lives in a regional area but someone who’s interested in them, and he’s very, very passionate,” Mr McCulkin said.
Mr Perry said that his location would not affect his ability to contribute to regional tourism.
“Inland regional New South Wales is an extremely large area so an appropriate location to reside in is Sydney,” he said.
“The air links are here and I can work with Destination Australia which is important”.
Mr Perry said that he intended to visit Broken Hill soon.
“It will be a very grass-roots, very local trip where I’ll speak with local government and stakeholders...about more strategic marketing and ways to identify the key segments to make sure we’re promoting the right product in the right way,” he said.
Mr Perry said that a big part of improving tourism was having a strong local tourism centre because they were a “centrepoint” for the community.
“Firstly, for visitors in the region they act as a landing space where they can find out about accommodation, sports and events to plan the trip.
“It’s also important to the residents to have a cafe as it’s good to ask information about how events are going on.
“A large amount of tourists who come to outback NSW are visiting friends and relatives and they could be from Sydney or Brisbane and it’s good for family and friends to find out what’s happening in the community”.
Mr Perry said that the “most successful” tourism centres were those with up-to-date information and which embraced technology and used “sculptures and relics to give off the energy or brand of what the particular region was about”.
The Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre has struggled recently and the cafe has closed.
City Council is now seeking expressions of interest to run parts or all of the private component of the tourism centre.
BH Tourism Advisory Group Chairman, John Groenendijk, said that he was hoping that a new operator of the VIC would bring “new vision” to the centre.
“What we’re hoping will happen is an entrepreneur who has ideas, will come in...with the vision to relaunch the cafe and have space to make room for new ideas,” Mr Groenendijk said.