Tourism Australia will be headed up by a female for the first time ever, with news that Phillipa Harrison has just been named as the organisation’s new Managing Director.

Phillipa was previously Tourism Australia’s Executive General Manager International, overseeing a network of international offices spanning 12 countries and managing airline relationships and distribution channels.

Phillipa has been holding the role in an acting capacity for the past few months following the resignation of Tourism Australia’s previous Managing Director John O’Sullivan.

He stepped down for the opportunity to lead ASX-listed company Experience Co.

Tourism Australia’s previous Managing Director John O’Sullivan

Tourism Australia Chairman, Bob East, said Phillipa was “a stand-out candidate” in the interview process.

“Phillipa has made an enormous contribution in her three years at Tourism Australia,” he said.

“She has great support in the industry and I am confident that Tourism Australia is in the best of hands”.

Phillipa said the opportunity to lead Australia’s national tourism organisation represented a career-high for her.

“I couldn’t be happier or prouder to be given the chance to head up the Tourism Australia team. This is a period of change, challenge and opportunity for our industry.”

Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison

“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,” she went on to say.

She said her focus would be very much on making sure that Tourism Australia continued to lead from the front, through creative and high impact marketing and through the important distribution and partnership platforms that they provide to the industry.

She takes up the new position immediately.