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Tourism leader Carolyn Turnbull bids farewell to Tourism Western Australia

As Carolyn bids farewell, Stephanie Underwood steps into the role of Acting Managing Director

In a significant announcement, Carolyn Turnbull, the esteemed Managing Director of Tourism Western Australia (WA), revealed her departure from the organisation, effective Friday, May 10, 2024.

Her departure marks the end of a transformative tenure that has left an indelible mark on Tourism WA and the broader tourism industry.

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Throughout her leadership, Carolyn has been synonymous with growth and innovation. Under her stewardship, Tourism WA achieved remarkable milestones, including a record-breaking $17.7 billion in visitor spending, showcasing a staggering 31 percent increase compared to pre-COVID levels. This achievement highlights Carolyn’s strategic vision and dedication to driving industry growth.

Di Bain, Chair of Tourism WA, highlighted Carolyn’s pivotal role in fuelling industry growth, stating “Carolyn’s leadership has been instrumental in launching numerous initiatives, programs, and securing substantial funding, all of which have contributed to the impressive growth of tourism in our state.”

One of Carolyn’s crowning achievements includes the successful launch of the iconic global tourism brand, ‘Walking On A Dream. This brand, conceived under her visionary leadership, has become emblematic of WA’s allure and has contributed significantly to the state’s tourism narrative.

Additionally, Carolyn’s efforts in implementing the WA Visitor Economy Strategy 2033 and securing high-profile events such as Coldplay, Rugby Sevens, and WWE have cemented WA’s reputation as a tourism powerhouse.

Moreover, Carolyn’s instrumental role in facilitating the resumption and launch of nonstop flights between Perth and 19 international destinations has bolstered WA’s connectivity and accessibility, further enhancing its appeal to visitors worldwide.

Looking ahead, Carolyn is poised to embark on an exciting new chapter in the tourism and hospitality industry, commencing a leadership role on Monday, June 1, 2024. Details regarding her new position will be unveiled in due course, as she remains committed to making a profound impact on the WA economy.

As Carolyn bids farewell, Stephanie Underwood steps into the role of Acting Managing Director, bringing over a decade of experience in the WA public sector. Her appointment reflects Tourism WA’s commitment to continuity and effective leadership during this transitional period.

Meanwhile, industry stakeholders have expressed their gratitude to Carolyn for her invaluable contributions to the tourism sector. Evan Hall, CEO of Tourism Council WA, extended his appreciation to Carolyn for her dedication and hard work, particularly during the challenging post-COVID recovery phase. 

“Tourism WA’s Managing Director is a critical position for the success of the industry, and it is important the future Managing Director has the support of an independent board and the authority to get results,” Mr Hall said.

“Tourism generated 110,000 jobs in Western Australia in 2023. It is important for the new Tourism WA Managing Director to have a track record in attracting visitors in a competitive market with other States and destinations. “It is a key task for the WA Government to attract commercial expertise and skilled tourism marketers to the executive and board of Tourism WA.”

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