Tourism boss steps down, makes a move to real estate

CRAIG Turner has announced he will be finishing up as CEO of Tourism Whitsundays later this month to take on the role of CEO of the PRDnationwide Whitsunday franchise.

Speaking exclusively to The Whitsunday Times, Mr Turner said the change would not affect Tourism Whitsundays’ momentum as Natassia Wheeler had been appointed new general manager in a role reshuffle, which will see Mr Turner remain on the board as executive director.

“I presented the board with a transition plan when I announced I would be leaving,” Mr Turner said.

“Natassia is very capable and while she doesn’t need a mentor I will be present to give advice when needed to ensure there is no loss of knowledge in the transition.

“I have and will continue to enjoy working for industry to ensure that the Whitsundays is promoted and marketed as one of the most desirable holiday destinations in Australia.”

With his last day scheduled for March 28, Mr Turner will start on April 3 to assist PRDnationwide Whitsundays with their development of One Airlie and Funnel Bay.

His history speaks true of small regional developments in Bowen and Proserpine.

“When people think of Craig they think tourism, tourism, tourism; but a lot of my working life has been spent in business,” Mr Turner said.

“I will continue towards the betterment of the Whitsundays.

“I’m really excited by this opportunity, there are a lot of synergies between the two industries and it is a great opportunity to apply business and tourism to provide the best possible product and market the Whitsundays to the rest of the world.”

PRD principle Christie Leet confirmed that Mr Turner would essentially take over his position in the office as the business pushed into development.

PARADISE: Sales consultant Darryl Brewer and Michelle Levett with project manager Christie Leet at Funnel Bay.

PARADISE: Sales consultant Darryl Brewer and Michelle Levett with project manager Christie Leet at Funnel Bay. Jacob Wilson

“I guess the last 10 years in the Whitsundays have been relatively flat in the real estate market and we are seeing a strong growth stage in the market,” he said.

“The business has been operating in maintenance mode and it is time for it to leap frog into growth mode.”

Mr Leet said Mr Turner was one of the best business people and growers of business in North Queensland.

“Coupled with our strong real estate skills and the current real estate market this approach will be formidable,” he said.

“The $1.5 billion insurance money injection into the region represents 35% increase into gross regional product.”

For more including our chat with new Tourism Whitsunday general manager Tash Wheeler, grab next week’s Whitsunday Times.

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