Queenstown chief tourism officer Paul Abbot resigns

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CEO Abbot has resigned from the Queenstown Tourist Board. Photo / Destination Queenstown

Queenstown tourism boss Paul Abbot has resigned as CEO, citing continued travel uncertainty between New Zealand and Australia.

Abbot will leave Destination Queenstown from the end of this month after seven months in the role.

He took up the post in July last year, expecting his family to join him from Cairns towards the end of 2021.

However, following the suspension of non-quarantine travel and Covid 19 restrictions, this did not happen.

“The DQ Board are very sad to see Paul go but can understand his extremely difficult position with his family stuck across the Tasman,” said Destination Queenstown Chairman Richard Thomas.

“We understand his decision to put his family first. It’s the right choice for Paul and his family.”

The businessman and former CEO of PNG Air was appointed to the role in Queenstown last year, after nine years working in tourism marketing. This included a stint as Air New Zealand’s international marketing director.

Thomas thanked Paul for his contribution to the tourist office.

“On behalf of the Destination Queenstown Board, I wish Paul all the best for his future,” he said.

On Thursday, the abbot told the The Otago Daily Times that inbound travel forecasts would not be helped by the easing of border restrictions and the shift to self-isolation.

While visitors would soon be allowed to return from July, the 10-day quarantine requirement would make New Zealand a “tough” choice, compared to other destinations.

“These are all things we won’t get a chance to compete on, I’m afraid.”

Paul Abbot has stepped down as CEO of Destination Queenstown, after seven months separated from his family in Australia.  Photo / Provided
Paul Abbot has stepped down as CEO of Destination Queenstown, after seven months separated from his family in Australia. Photo / Provided

Destination Queenstown said it was in a “position of strength” and would continue to promote and support businesses in Queenstown.

“There is significant work underway to keep the Queenstown brand top of mind for consumers and trade, with well-developed plans ready to launch once there is certainty regarding international visitors to the area. “, we read in a press release from Destination Queenstown.

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