A familiar face will head the Grampians Tourism board for the foreseeable future.
Former Ararat Rural City Council mayor Paul Hooper will take on the position as board chair.
Mr Hooper has significant experience serving on boards, serving as East Grampians Health Service director, sitting on the Lake Fyans committee of management as well as serving six terms as the Ararat Rural City mayor in a lengthy council career among other notable roles.
“My interest was asked by one of the board members and after some thought I decided to put my hat in the ring. I am delighted to be taking on the role,” he said.
“It is a marvelous part of the world we live in and it will be great to help in bringing more and more people here.”
Mr Hooper has sat on the Grampians Tourism board before through his role on Council but has limited specific tourism industry experience. He said he hopes his experience from other aspects of his career can transfer into his new role.
With hard work and offering a quality product to people we have enormous potentialPaul Hooper
“I have had many years of experience chairing organisations and the trick is for me to be saying very little and for the board and other groups to work hard with everyone having an input,” he said.
“We have a fantastic board that represents the great diversity in the region.
“There is a strategic plan in existence so my role is ti to that the aims of that are achieved.”
Mr Hooper takes over from David Osborn who had been in the role for six years.
He said he hopes to continue the “outstanding job” Mr Osborn had done in his time with Grampians Tourism.
“I take my hat off to him for his commitment to the role,” Mr Hooper said.
“He was very experienced in the tourism industry where I am not. I hope to bring a different network with me and continue to capitalise on the networks and contacts David built.”
Mr Hooper said he has committed to a three-year term as chair and will assess if he stays on any longer when he nears the end of the term.
He said the “sky is the limit” as to how much tourism in the Grampians region can grow.
“Ultimately tourism is a great economic driver for our part of world, the more tourists the more opportunities for employment and exposure and for betterment of the broader community,” he said.
“I think our tourism businesses do a really good job and in terms of our reach and potential it is truly unlimited. We are only starting to tap into the Melbourne market as well.
”With hard work and offering a quality product to people we have enormous potential.”
Grampians Tourism chief executive Marc Sleeman said he is excited to have Mr Hooper as the board’s chair.
“Having Paul involved I know he will be able to have a positive influence on local industry,” he said.
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