Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Chairman Ken Chapman has been appointed to the Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Board and, subject to the approval of the incoming Board, will take on the role of Chair when it becomes vacant at the Annual General Meeting in October.
TTNQ Chair Wendy Morris said Dr Chapman brought invaluable business skills to the role and was an experienced chair and director, having sat on numerous national, state and local boards.
“Ken chairs the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, was a founding director of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), and a past director of both Tourism Australia and TTNQ,” she said.
“He has 10 years of hotel board experience with Event Hospitality and Entertainment as well as
multiple board and business interests in tourism, real estate investment and development, health and aquaculture.
“The TTNQ Board has appointed Ken a Director in the lead-up to the AGM to ensure a smooth transition when I complete my three-year term as Chair.
“He joins TTNQ as we navigate through one of the toughest challenges ever thrown at the tourism industry, one that has seen the organisation pivot its marketing strategy and quickly take on a stronger advocacy agenda to ensure businesses survive.
“CEO Mark Olsen has led the charge with the Board’s support to lobby State and Federal politicians for assistance, including asking for a wage subsidy which resulted in JobKeeper, one of the many lifelines enabling businesses to continue trading.
“The See Great, Leave Greater marketing campaign was pulled out of hibernation and reshaped to suit the rapidly changing domestic marketplace with the enviable result of Cairns now the number one region in Australia in Google travel searches.
“The Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region has what the world wants once travel resumes – space, warmth and an environment that makes us Sir David Attenborough’s favourite place on Earth.
“TTNQ is working hard to ensure we take advantage of this so we can grow market share in the post-COVID world.
“Ken has been through the many troughs that nature and global crises have thrown at our industry and is a capable leader who understands what is needed for a resilient and sustainable tourism future.”
Dr Chapman, whose father George Chapman became the founding chairman of the tourism marketing body in 1976, said the region’s $3.5 billion tourism industry had never faced such a tough challenge.
“Recovery from the impact of the pandemic is crucial, not just for the industry, but for the whole region where one in five jobs rely on tourism.
“Unity will be the key moving forward. We have all got to work together by marshalling our resources and preparing our armoury to go really hard when we get out on the other side.
“The tourism industry is all about opportunity and even now while we are in the midst of the pandemic, businesses are looking for opportunities and trying to make the most of the limited number of visitors travelling around Queensland.
“I am looking forward to working closely with the TTNQ Directors and the TTNQ team who have been at the coalface since the COVID-19 outbreak decimated visitor numbers at the start of the Chinese New Year.
“We all acknowledge and thank Wendy for her contribution as Chair as she has been passionate about helping the industry to succeed in these tough times.
“Wendy’s term has coincided with a number of extraordinary challenges including the negative publicity following the back-to-back bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef.”
The region’s tourism leaders have welcomed the appointment with CaPTA Group Director Peter Woodward acknowledging the importance of having a leader with skin in the game.
“As an owner-operator in these tough times, Ken understands the pain the industry is going through,” he said.
Quicksilver Group Managing Director Tony Baker said Dr Chapman’s wealth of experience and exceptional forward-thinking skills would be ideal for the role.
Dr Chapman is an inspired choice, according to Crystalbrook Collection Interim CEO Geoff York.
“Ken brings a wealth of experience in both the destination and the industry and is a strong leader capable of taking TTNQ and the tourism industry forward during these challenging times,” he said.