Destination Queenstown’s newly-appointed boss says following his predecessor’s troubled eight-month reign won’t faze him.
Tony Everitt, Fiji-based boss of South Pacific’s tourism promotion body, replaces Australian Stephen Pahl, who abruptly left citing personal reasons three months ago.
Apart from reading Mountain Scene, Everitt, 48, says he’s not been intimately familiar with DQ since finishing a 12-year marketing career with Tourism New Zealand in 2006.
“If that is a challenge, then I love challenges, so that’s great.”
Everitt – with 30 years marketing experience – says he wasn’t aware DQ number two Graham Budd had also applied for the job.
“I’m sure we’ll get along absolutely fine,” Everitt says.
“I’ve been managing teams since early in my career, and building a team is the most important thing.
“I’m sure there are great people [at DQ] because some great work’s been done over the years.”
Everitt says he’s “pumped” to get the job.
“We’ve got one of the world’s ultimate tourism brands to build on, we’ve got new airlines flying in, we’ve got the world economy picking up. A great place to start.”
Everitt, like Pahl before him, promises to spend his first month “using my ears far more than my tongue”, but he expects the local industry will confirm the importance of the Australian market.
“Those flights from Australia [also] give you all sorts of long-haul market opportunities as well – that’s definitely something we should put in the medium-term horizon.”
In his introductory interview, Pahl – since returned to Brisbane – told Mountain Scene: “I’m here for the long-haul.”
Everitt won’t commit himself that way.
“I’ll be there to get the job done, that’s a commitment made to the board. I don’t think it’s so much about time, it’s about achieving what the industry wants us to achieve – I just don’t know how long that’s going to take.”
Everitt starts on February 1.
Graham Budd bummed – again
Destination Queenstown marketing manager Graham Budd says he’s “very disappointed” he’s again been overlooked for the top job.
Budd applied for the CEO job 12 months ago after the resignation of long-time boss David Kennedy, but was leapfrogged by Australian Stephen Pahl.
He applied again after Pahl’s brief innings, but the job’s gone to another outsider – South Pacific tourism marketer Tony Everitt.
Budd was widely viewed as Kennedy’s likely successor after joining DQ in April 2007. Beyond expressing his disappointment, Budd says he doesn’t want to comment further.