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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Boss of Tropical North Queensland tourism marketing body announces shock departure

    The CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) will leave the organisation in October.

    Pip Close announced her resignation today, less than two years after she started in the role.

    “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 in a statement.

    “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.”

    Her resignation comes as the organisation works on a branding overhaul amid a significant downturn in tourism.

    Chair Wendy Morris has thanked Ms Close for a job well done under tough circumstances.

    “Pip’s done an amazing job and the team really need to get some accolades because we all feel it when the industry is hurting, the economy is hurting, business is hurting,” she told Tropic Now.

    “Obviously we’re very disappointed to be losing Pip, she’s been incredibly energetic and pro-active in ways people haven’t been able to see from the outside."

    Ms Morris said under Ms Close’s leadership, consumer marketing has increased in importance with a focus on public relations and digital marketing.

    That has included a large European 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’s also initiated some stuff with the other tourism organisations which has never been done,” Ms Morris said.

    “Pip reached out to the broader region extending from the Torres Strait to the Northern Territory border and south to Cardwell.” 

    “To some extent there were streamlining things that needed to be done internally, from accounts to computer systems and that’s taken a lot of cleaning up.”

    “Pip has transformed TTNQ into an effective, streamlined organisation and attracted significant funding for new projects.”

    Ms Morris said the CEO role will be advertised in the coming weeks to enable a smooth transition in October.

    “The tourism industry is a very big industry across Australia and we have relationships and industry partners around Australia so we have very good contacts,” she said.

    “We’ve had in place a process for the past couple of weeks for a transition and handover but most of the processes are very much in hand and the teams are in place."


    The TTNQ Chair has flat out rejected rumours that she is also preparing to step down at the October AGM.

    “The Cairns rumour mill can work in overtime,” she told Tropic Now.

    “I’ve got absolutely no intention of standing down.

    “I think there might have been a misunderstanding in that I’ve got a three year agreement, so I’ve always planned to step down in October 2020.”