Tourism Whitsundays settles on new CEO

Tourism Whitsundays has announced the appointment of Rick Hamilton as its new chief executive.

Hamilton (pictured above) joins Tourism Whitsundays with more than 25 years of senior travel and tourism industry experience, most recently as group executive of destinations and global partnerships at Tourism & Events Queensland.

Prior to this, Hamilton was the CEO of Tourism Fiji and spent 18 years at Flight Centre working in senior roles in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Tourism Whitsundays chair Matt Boileau said Hamilton’s appointment will help not only the region, but also operators with the ongoing recovery and rebuild of the tourism sector.

“The position saw over 100 applicants from across the country apply for the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the dedicated and hardworking team at Tourism Whitsundays,” Boileau said.

“The board of directors and I endorse the appointment of Mr Hamilton. With over 25 years of experience and proven ability to identify and seize opportunities to drive growth in sales, revenue and market share, Mr Hamilton is the right candidate for the role.

“I look forward to seeing the outcomes he achieves.”

Hamilton, who assumes the role in October, said he was looking forward to hitting the ground running at Tourism Whitsundays.

“I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity to lead Tourism Whitsundays and continue to showcase the Whitsundays as the globally-recognised Great Barrier Reef destination,” he said.

“My leadership philosophy is based around open communication, collaboration, decisive decision-making, and recognition and development, which I am looking forward to applying in my new role as CEO of Tourism Whitsundays.

“The Whitsundays is an incredible destination. I can’t wait to meet with industry and learn more about the region that I will call my home, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Hamilton will lead Tourism Whitsundays toward its goal of growing overnight visitor expenditure in the region to better than pre-COVID and Tropical Cyclone Debbie figures of more than $850 million, and total visitation to one million.