Eight weeks into the job as head of the region’s biggest tourism body, Grampians Tourism, Marc Sleeman says the area has great potential.
He was appointed as the new chief executive following Will Flamsteed’s resignation in April.
Mr Sleeman grew up in South Gippsland and accumulated more than 20 years’ experience in tourism, both in the private industry and local government sector.
He joined Grampians Tourism after almost eight years as the general manager for Tourism Kuranda.
“It’s been an exciting period so far here in the Grampians,” Mr Sleeman said.
“So far the support from the four local councils we are in partnership with has been great- together we are leading the charge to help bolster the tourism industry in the Grampians region.”
About 1500 people are employed in tourism jobs across the Grampians region.
Mr Sleeman said a big part of his role was continuing to attract visitors to the Grampians, which would help local businesses and town economies.
“Tourism is a leading industry in the Grampians and it is one of the fields that will keep young people in the region,” he said.
Mr Sleeman also said he would use his experience in international marketing to raise the profile of the Grampians in Melbourne and Adelaide, domestically and internationally.
“Chinese visitation contributes enormously to tourism in this region, contributing 10 per cent to inbound business, but I expect this number to rise exponentially,” he said.
“We have already started rolling out training sessions to local business to be china ready.
“This will help with nuances and characteristics of the Chinese visitor- which is different from that of an European or American visitor.”
Mr Sleeman said he was looking forward to continue seeing the Grampians rise as a hot international destination.
He said the iconic Grampians Peaks Trail was set to be completed by the end of 2019.
“Stage One is finished and is already experiencing high visitation,” he said.