News & Media

New BoardA record year for Gippsland Tourism

*6.1 million visitors to Gippsland

*an $87 million boost to region’s economy

Photo: Destination Gippsland Board
Back L-R: Cam Johns, Richard Longmore, Kylie Johnson, Neil Travers, Nick Murray. Front L-R: Nicola Pero, Sue Smethurst, Damien Gannon

Record visitor numbers and the appointment of two new Directors to the Board were the highlights of Destination Gippsland’s Annual General Meeting held in Wonthaggi on Thursday.

Neil Travers owner of Fish Creek’s Waratah Hills Winery and Nick Murray, former CEO of Gippsland Ports, were both appointed to the Board by the member councils of the Gippsland Local Government Network. Ms Sue Smethurst was unanimously re-elected Chairman.

“It’s an honour to have been re-elected for another year,” Ms Smethurst said, “and I am particularly delighted to welcome Neil and Nick to the Destination Gippsland Board.  Their professional experience, strong networks and passion for Gippsland will be an asset to growing our visitor economy.  Neil’s expertise will be invaluable as we continue to develop our award-winning food and wine sector, as will Nick’s detailed understanding of key marine, port and waterway resources as we strategically plan the future of the region’s visitor economy.”

They will be joining Destination Gippsland’s elected skills-based Board of Directors; Richard Longmore (Finance and governance), Riviera Nautic owner Cam Johns, Environmental consultant Michelle Dickson, Nicola Pero CEO of Lardner Park, Tinamba Hotel’s Damien Gannon and Paul Ashton CEO of Running Wild events.  Leigh Kennedy (Regional Development Victoria), Tim Tamlin (Gippsland Local Government Network), Will McCutcheon (Parks Victoria) and Paul Matthews (Visit Victoria) will continue to contribute as Board Observers.

“This year we welcomed a record 6.1 million visitors to the region, an outstanding figure,” Ms Smethurst said. “This means that more visitors than ever before have enjoyed our stunning beaches and waterways, pristine parks, boutique villages, abundant cycling trails and gourmet paddock to plate experiences. Visitors have contributed an additional $87 million to the region’s billion dollar visitor economy in the past year and we expect that figure to continue growing as record numbers choose to eat, play and stay in Gippsland.”

“In 2019 our focus continues with the delivery of the Gippsland Destination Management Plan, a ten-year blue-print to continue building Gippsland’s visitor economy, and the launch of an exciting new brand campaign to share the story of wonderful, world class Gippsland, far and wide,” Ms Smethurst concluded.

Ms Smethurst thanked Destination Gippsland CEO Terry Robinson and his team for their work cementing Gippsland’s place as a leading destination in regional Australia.




Gippsland Tourism News 

Destination Gippsland welcomes new Board Chairman Sue Smethurst

Destination Gippsland welcomed the appointment of Sue Smethurst as the new Board Chairman when it held its Annual General Meeting on Friday 10th November in Sale. Sue has been a Board Director for two years and was unanimously elected to lead the organisation.
Sue is a journalist who has held senior roles with Australia’s leading media organisations for more than 20 years.  She is a best-selling author and is employed by Bauer Media’s flagship title The Australian Women’s Weekly. Sue has extensive experience in the fields of media, communications and marketing. Sue was born and raised in Gippsland.


The AGM process appointed two new Directors, welcoming Michelle Dickson and Damian Gannon to sit on the Board for the next three years.  Current Directors Richard Longmore and Paul Ashton were also re-appointed and will continue with the Board for another term.
“I am delighted and very honoured to have been elected Chairman of such a wonderful and valued organisation. Gippsland has so much to offer and I look forward to working closely with the Board and our very talented management team, who all share a passion for advancing tourism across our diverse, world class region” said Ms Smethurst.

The Board paid tribute to retiring Chairman Steven Hibbard, who has served as a Board Director for nine years with the last two as Chairman. They also thanked Trent Fairweather for his services over the past four years following his decision to retire from the Board.

For details on the Destination Gippsland Board and new appointments please see here.

Gippsland Tourism Forums 2017

Destination Gippsland has been proud to have facilitated and delivered four Gippsland Tourism Leader & Industry Forums for 2017.

We have had an array of fascinating speakers with insights across the tourism spectrum.

Presentations from the Series can be found here on our  Industry Events page.

We look forward to engaging with you in the coming months and will be preparing a program of forums for the Tourism Industry throughout 2018.

The Gippsland Visitor Economy Snapshot

The Gippsland Visitor Economy generates an estimated $1.2b in Gross Regional Product (11% of the total Gippsland economy).

It supports 12,400 jobs (12% of all Gippsland employment) in over 3,000 businesses across every community in Gippsland. Tourism in Gippsland is everyone’s business.

The Hon John Eren, Minister for Tourism and Major Events is inspired by Gippsland

Destination Gippsland hosted the Hon John Eren, Minister for Tourism and Major Events on Tuesday August 25 for an afternoon in Gippsland where he met with industry stakeholders from the Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Latrobe City and Wellington Shires.