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Lion departs as Tourism Australia focuses on local recovery

Tourism Australia has announced the departure of its executive general manager Penny Lion in a wider reshuffle that will see the agency focus it recovery efforts on the domestic market.

Lion, who has been with the agency for 10 years and oversaw various initiatives that put Australia on the map as a leading business events destination, will continue in an advisory capacity.

Robin Mack, who has been promoted to executive general manager, in addition to his commercial role on the executive team, will look after Business Events and its marketing function will be part of the wider TA marketing operation led by chief marketing officer Susan Coghill.

The changes will come into effect on Thursday (July 1st).

Lion consolidated Tourism Australia’s approach to marketing Australia as a business events destination internationally and managed the implementation of programmes including the Business Events Bid Fund and Business Events Boost, as well as the Advance Programme.

Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said her departure was among some significant changes to the business amid ongoing uncertainty around tourism.

She said: “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.

“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.

“To ensure our organisation is well placed to maximise the immediate opportunities to rebuild tourism, whilst also planning for those ahead, we are making some changes to our operations for the approaching financial year.”

She added: “Penny’s vision combined with strong commercial business acumen has resulted in business events being elevated within Tourism Australia with excellent results. Our intention now is to continue with Penny’s vision by integrating business events more across the whole business.”

Lion added: “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.”

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