Ballarat Regional Tourism has looked north to find its new chief.
While Noel Dempsey is originally from Melbourne he has spent the last few years on the Gold Coast, most recently as CEO of the company behind Dreamworld.
He has also overseen the theme park itself.
Mr Dempsey said his pitch for the job revolved around making sure visitors had a positive experience in Ballarat every step of the way.
“I believe passionately in the customer and the experience, and (Ballarat’s) ability to bring people along for the journey,” he said.
BRT has appointed Mr Dempsey three months after long-term leader George Sossi retired.
Mr Dempsey said he hoped to build on the successful calendar of events that has driven the tourism sector beyond Sovereign Hill in the last year.
We just want Ballarat up in lights.- Noel Dempsey
“There’s the events strategy which is really solid...where you’re looking at repeat visits, but it’s not one-dimensional. We’ve had some great success there,” he said.
“You’ve got to remember tourism as a sector has been around a hell of a long time, and (an area) sometimes needs to challenge itself so sometimes a fresh perspective on that can help.”
Mr Dempsey will start in the job on April 26.
He said he was keen to dive in to Ballarat life.
“I can’t wait to be immersed and engaged in the community,” he said.
“I want to be a face of Ballarat for people to come up and give me their views. This is about creating something special for the whole town.”
“We just want Ballarat up in lights.”
The Ballarat tourism sector has seen strong growth through Chinese visits to Sovereign Hill and people from Melbourne and other regional areas staying for events like the Beer Festival and the road cycling championships.
But a weakness has been international visitors not staying overnight, something which tourism chiefs are looking to increase.
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