Large field apply for tourism job
WARWICK Tourism and Events will be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a new chief executive officer, with no less than a dozen applicants for the temporary gig from both near and far.
Interest is strong in the vacancy created by former CEO Bev Marston, who resigned last month, largely due to uncertainty over the future of the promotional body which oversees events like the popular Jumpers and Jazz in July.
The board of Warwick Tourism and Events – which operates at arm’s length from funding source the Southern Downs Regional Council – had voted to wind itself up as a result of legal and financial complications, and against the background of a controversial review of tourism marketing in the region.
There was also concern about attracting a new CEO given WTE’s funding runs out next June, but the council insisted it find someone to fill Mrs Marston’s shoes to ensure the smooth running of events in the next six months.
Whether WTE will continue in its present form next financial year or will be replaced with a different body remains unclear, with some tourism operators concerned promotion of Warwick events might be swallowed up within council.
WTE chairman Greg Newey said his board would meet today to conduct a preliminary assessment of applications for the CEO job.
“From there we’ll obviously develop a shortlist and if all goes well start interviews next week,” Mr Newey said.
“It would be my hope that we will have the new person on deck prior to Christmas so they can hit the ground running.
“But there may be issues with whoever the person is having to give notice in a present job and re-locating.”
Mr Newey said he was both pleased and surprised at the number of applicants, given WTE had made it clear the position was a temporary one for six months.
“Obviously there is the chance that it might end up being a longer appointment, depending on what council decides to do as far as the future of WTE is concerned,” he said.
Mr Newey paid tribute to WTE part-time administrative assistant Shona Gibson, who leaves next year to undertake tertiary studies in tourism.
He said Ms Gibson had done “a super job” and had kindly agreed to stay on in the office until Christmas.
Mayor Ron Bellingham said a report on the wider review of tourism promotion in the region would be tabled for debate at a special meeting of council in December.
A review of tourism promotion in the region continues, prompted by operators’ concerns about overlapping regional and Warwick- and Stanthorpe-based groups.
Regional body Southern Downs and Granite Belt Regional Tourism may merge with Toowoomba and the Golden West, but a decision is not expected until early next year