Pip’s perfect for project

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Pip Close.
Camera IconPip Close.

Inaugural Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chief executive Pip Close will return to the region later this year for a special projects role.

Ms Close, pictured, comes from a high-profile job heading up North Queensland’s tourism association, which she started after her departure from the MRBTA more than two years ago.

MRBTA said it was a six-month contract role only, and Ms Close would not return to the chief executive gig despite the association’s decision not to hire a replacement after parting ways early with Claire Savage and splitting the chief executive’s role between top managers Cinde Fisher, Steve Harrison and Sharna Kearney.

Ms Kearney is on maternity leave and the Times understands Mr Harrison is also on a leave of absence.

MRBTA chairman Trent Bartlett said it was a “coup” to recruit Ms Close for the special projects role. “Pip will be well known to many of our members and partners, and I know they will join me in welcoming her back to the region,” he said.

“Over the last two years, Pip has further honed her expertise successfully leading Tourism Tropical North Queensland into a modern destination marketing organisation for the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region.”

An MRBTA spokeswoman said some of the projects included further work on the Your Margaret River Region brand, destination marketing strategies for interstate and overseas markets, and working with members on their preparedness.

“Pip will continue MRBTA’s role in facilitating airline and industry engagement for the Busselton-Margaret River Airport,” the association said.

Ms Close oversaw the successful merger of the Augusta-Margaret River and Geographe Bay tourism associations in 2015.

Her work in Queensland included securing direct flights with China Southern Airlines and overcoming negative publicity around environmental degradation of the Great Barrier Reef.

In a statement, Ms Close said she was excited to return to Margaret River.

“The MRBTA and the region has always held a special place in my heart, and I am really looking forward to working with the staff, members and partners of MRBTA once again,” she said.

Ms Close starts work on November 9.

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