Former Tourism Australia country manager resurfaces at Visit Sunshine Coast

Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has secured the services of Jenny Aitken to represent the Queensland region in New Zealand.

Aitken was previously Tourism Australia’s country manager for New Zealand for more than 12 years before exiting the role in late June.

New Zealand is the Sunshine Coast’s primary international market, attracting 84,000 visitors in the 12 months to March 2020 – an increase of 20.5 per cent from the previous year.

With the prospect of New Zealand returning as Australia’s first inbound international market, VSC’s interim chief executive Craig Davidson said the timing of Aitken’s appointment will provide a major boost in confidence for the region’s tourism operators.

“New Zealand is in many ways a ‘natural’ market for the Sunshine Coast because of the attractiveness of our beaches, our year-round temperate climate and the range and diversity of our attractions,” he said.

“Jenny offers VSC invaluable experience promoting Australia in New Zealand and she is already very familiar with what the Sunshine Coast offers Kiwi travellers.

“In the short-term, leisure travel will be the primary focus, but as the current situation eases, we will be looking to grow groups and business events travel out of New Zealand, especially once direct flights resume to Sunshine Coast Airport’s new international-capable runway.

“In the longer term, we would anticipate growth in direct routes from beyond Auckland.”