Paul Donovan steps down as Chairman of Destination Gold Coast

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan and departing Chair Paul Donovan.

Paul Donovan will step down as Chairman of Destination Gold Coast after 17 years in the role.

“It has been a privilege over the years to work closely with the Board and esteemed professionals of Destination Gold Coast to represent the interests of Gold Coast’s 4,400 tourism businesses and the 35,000 people employed by the sector,” Donovan said.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Patricia O’Callaghan acknowledged Donovan’s passion for the industry.

“Having steered the city’s peak tourism body for close to two decades, Paul has helped to not only raise the profile of the Gold Coast as a must-visit leisure and business events destination, but also advocate for continual development of aviation connectivity and tourism infrastructure from both public and private sectors,” she said.

“Visitor numbers have steadily increased under his leadership reaching a peak of 14.2 million visitors, directly generating $5.9 billion into the local economy in 2019.

“Over this period, Paul was instrumental in growing the China market to become the number one international source market for the Gold Coast and third most popular Australian destination for Chinese visitors prior to Covid-19.

“Paul worked with the Board and guided senior management to develop strategies and plans that saw Gold Coast’s tourism sector bounce back from the lows of the global financial crisis to the highs of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and more recently, he acted as Executive Chairman in the latter half of 2020 to navigate unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19.”

Donovan will formally step down after Destination Gold Coast’s Annual General Meeting on 24 November where the Board will elect a new Chair.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate thanked Donovan for his commitment to the city.

“When we think of fantastic Gold Coasters who have made such an incredible contribution to our city, Paul fits the bill perfectly,” Tate said.

“I’m sure Paul’s name will pop up again given his love for our city.”