Tourism Wollongong‘s energetic General Manager Greg Binskin today announced he was leaving the job to spend more time with his family as the organisation takes on a broader marketing and development role as Destination Wollongong.
“After 11.5 years building Wollongong’s image as an exciting tourism and lifestyle destination, Greg believes the time is right to set a new course,” said Tourism Wollongong Chairman Matt Davidson.
“We greatly regret but totally respect Greg’s decision. He has worked very hard to help achieve the transition now underway, but wants to spend more time with his young family during a very challenging time. He will leave with our absolute blessing and deep thanks for his energy and commitment.”
Mr Davidson said latest National Visitor Survey figures showed the Illawarra’s tourism and lifestyle industry was now worth $678m a year, much of it achieved over the past seven years.
“Greg’s focus, energy and leadership not only made Tourism Wollongong one of Australia’s most effective regional tourism bodies but his We Love the Gong campaign pushed the city to the forefront of the new Social Media phenomenon, instilling considerable community pride and confidence as we moved beyond manufacturing to tourism, lifestyle and knowledge building.
“When Greg came on board in April 2001, Tourism Wollongong comprised four staff and a limited budget. When he departs at the end of this month he will leave a multi-skilled team of 12 and a five year funding agreement to boost tourist arrivals, procure conferences and major events and promote the city centre as vibrant shopping and entertainment precinct.”
Wollongong City Council General Manager David Farmer said Mr Binskin would be greatly missed, adding:
“With latest tourism statistics showing overnight stays up by more than 12 per cent and day trips ahead by 5 per cent, Wollongong has much to thank Greg for. His tenacity and vision put tourism on the city’s agenda and now Wollongong is the benchmark for other local government areas in New South Wales. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Mr Binskin said his decision to leave was a difficult one, but the time was right: “The past 11-plus years have been a fantastic journey for me. With all our tourism indicators in growth and Destination Wollongong up and running on a five-year funding agreement, the time to leave is right.”
“I am very much looking forward to spending more time with Renee and our sons Hayden and Ashton. They are my immediate priority. After that I will see what the future might hold in the way of new challenges.”
Mr Binskin singled out the two Tourism Wollongong Chairmen he served under – Jim Eddy and Matt Davidson – for special thanks during his tenure.