The CEO of Tourism New Zealand, George Hickton, who has led the
marketing organisation for more than a decade, is to stand down at
the end of this year.
George Hickton advised the Tourism New
Zealand board and staff that he will be leaving when his contract
expires on 1 December 2009.
"After more than ten years in this role the
decision has been a difficult one but I believe the time is
Hickton has presided over a 60% growth in visitor
numbers during his decade in office, capped this week with the
news that for the first time in a 12 month period visitor numbers
from Australia exceeded a million people.
"I am immensely
proud of what we have achieved since 1999. We launched the 100%
Pure New Zealand brand ten years ago and it has now become iconic
for both the country and tourism," Hickton said. "We’ve also had some
high profile PR results with New Zealand gardens at the Chelsea
Flower Show in London, and the giant inflatable rugby ball events
in Paris and London."
The Chairman of Tourism New Zealand Greg Muir acknowledged the
tremendous commitment Hickton had brought to the role of CEO.
"George has managed some outstanding achievements during his
time as the CE of Tourism New Zealand. He will be a big loss not
only to Tourism New Zealand but to the industry at large," Mr Muir
"We know that this was a big call for George and we
have welcomed the fact that he will continue in his role until his
contract expires at the end of the year.
vitally important to the New Zealand economy, we’re operating in
an incredibly challenging environment and while the Board will be
moving immediately with the search for a new CEO, it is great to
know that George will see through a number of new marketing
initiatives to make sure the industry is in the strongest possible
position," he added.
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