Phillipa Harrison to lead Tourism Australia

Tourism Australia has picked a woman to lead it for the first time, with Phillipa Harrison appointed as its new managing director.

Harrison previously ran Tourism Australia’s international business network as well as managing airline relationships and distribution channels. She has been acting managing director since John O’Sullivan left in May to take a job in the private sector.

“With competition for the global travel wallet and the demands of the international traveller ever increasing and both global and Australian tourism facing a number of significant headwinds, the need for a strong, cohesive and united industry has never been greater,” Harrison said.

“My focus is very much on making sure that Tourism Australia continues to lead from the front, through creative and high impact marketing but also through the important distribution and partnership platforms we provide to industry.”

Tourism Australia chairman Bob East said Harrison had made an enormous contribution during her three years at the organisation and had been a stand-out candidate in the interview process.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said he looked forward to working closely with Harrison.

“In such a competitive global market, the sell is tougher than ever and I know Tourism Australia under the guidance of Ms Harrison will continue to deliver cutting-edge campaigns that put Australia front and centre of the minds of prospective travellers,” he said.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said her appointment was a great outcome for the inbound tourism industry.

“Pip is a fantastic appointment. She brings considerable experience and industry knowledge to one of the most important jobs in our industry,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said.

“Pip has always been recognised as a leader with extensive hands-on experience across several facets of the tourism industry and this puts her in good stead to lead the industry into the next decade of its growth.

“It’s this understanding of the industry that will underpin her role as the person responsible for getting cut through for Australia in the global tourism marketplace.”