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Tourism Australia chair Bob East steps down

The federal government has paid tribute to outgoing Tourism Australia chair Bob East for his leadership and service to tourism.

East joined the Tourism Australia board in 2016 before being appointed chair in 2017, and oversaw the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said East was leaving Tourism Australia in a stronger position after two terms on the board.

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

“Mr East is a respected leader in the tourism sector, with a long history in the accommodation sector, most recently as CEO of Mantra Group.”

As well as serving on the boards of the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Tourism Accommodation Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Tourism and Transport Forum, East sits on the federal government’s Nation Brand Advisory Council.

Tehan also thanked outgoing Tourism Australia board member Hayley Baillie, who joined in 2015 after making her mark on the agency’s Food and Wine Advisory Board with the ‘Restaurant Australia’ marketing campaign.

“The government would like to thank Ms Baillie for serving two terms on the Tourism Australia board and her invaluable contributions in helping to steer the tourism sector through the challenges of the pandemic,” he said.

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