Benton resigns as chairman of Tourism West Coast

Richard Benton has stepped down as chairman of Tourism West Coast and Dame Julie Christie is taking his place in the meantime.

The tourism marketing functions of Tourism West Coast were merged into Development West Coast on April 1 and the board wound up. The former board members were appointed initial members of DWC's new Tourism Strategy Group, which acts in an advisory role to the DWC chief executive.

The group met recently for the first time and elected Dame Julie, a DWC trustee, as the interim chairwoman.

Mr Benton, from the West Coast Wildlife Centre at Franz Josef Glacier, initially fought the amalgamation.

He announced his resignation from the new group, noting it was now timely to stand down with the winding up of Tourism West Coast and the transition to the strategy group now complete.

"On reflection as a board member and chair of Tourism West Coast over the last six years, I am particularly proud of the significant growth achieved in tourism numbers and GDP over my period of time, and the leadership shown in initiating and developing an award-winning brand and strategy that should now hold the West Coast in really good stead for many years to come,'' Mr Benton said.

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie thanked Mr Benton for his contribution to tourism on the West Coast.

The membership and terms of reference for the new Tourism Strategy Group will be reviewed at the end of the year.

The Tourism Strategy Group consists of Dame Julie, Margaret Montgomery, Stephen Roberts and Alexander Tschampel, with a replacement to be appointed for Mr Benton.



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