Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close has resigned to "pursue other opportunities" after two years heading up the marketing organisation.

It has been a tumultuous period for the industry with the withdrawal of Cathay Pacific from Cairns after 26 years, a slump in international visitor numbers and calls from some operators for the formation of a new local tourism organisation with a closer focus on marketing Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.

Ms Close said she would leave the organisation on October 16.

TTNQ chief Pip Close. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE
TTNQ chief Pip Close. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE

"I have made a decision to take a break from this busy role to pursue other opportunities and the timing is perfect as I've completed what I set out to achieve in the past two years," she said.

"The hard yards have been done to move the organisation forward in the challenging market we are currently working in.

"I am completing a detailed business plan, stakeholder groups are being set up for key markets, and the work to better tell the destination's story is underway.

"The next four months will be business as usual and I look forward to working with the board to ensure a smooth transition process that allows adequate time for a handover to the new CEO."

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Pip Close and chairwoman Wendy Morris at the launch of scUber.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Pip Close and chairwoman Wendy Morris at the launch of scUber.

TTNQ chairwoman Wendy Morris said Ms Close had achieved a number of significant initiatives since joining the organisation in July 2017.

"Pip reached out to the broader region extending from the Torres Strait to the Northern Territory border and south to Cardwell," she said.

"Consumer marketing increased in importance under her leadership with an increased focus on public relations and digital marketing.

 

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Tourism Minister Kate Jones, Cairns MP Michael Healy and Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close meet in Brisbane to start negotiations to try stop Cathay Pacific from cutting its Cairns-Hong Kong flight route. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Tourism Minister Kate Jones, Cairns MP Michael Healy and Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close meet in Brisbane to start negotiations to try stop Cathay Pacific from cutting its Cairns-Hong Kong flight route. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"Pip instigated a large campaign in Europe that included a two-year marketing campaign focusing on the Great Barrier Reef and new consumer websites in three languages with the English version winning an international marketing award.

"She instigated specialised in-market representation in our key international markets and launched industry roadshows.

"Indigenous experiences have been elevated through a renewed focus on marketing and a push for experience development.

Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Debbie-Anne Bender, Advance Cairns CEO Nick Trompf and Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close announce 52 delegates ahead the Convoy to Canberra trip. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Debbie-Anne Bender, Advance Cairns CEO Nick Trompf and Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close announce 52 delegates ahead the Convoy to Canberra trip. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

"Behind the scenes Pip has transformed TTNQ into an effective, streamlined organisation and attracted significant funding for new projects.

"The TTNQ Board has appreciated Pip's energy and dedication to her role in challenging times.

"We have begun the process of recruiting for a new CEO while Pip continues to lead the

organisation and prepare for the transition to a new CEO."

Ms Close's resignation comes just days after Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Debbie-Anne Bender stepped down from her role.



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