Australia realigns tourism entities

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LOS ANGELES -- Australia's Tourist Commission has been restructured and renamed Tourism Australia, in an effort to better market the country's tourism industry, according to Joe Hockey, Australia's minister for small business and tourism.

The new organization, which will have a combined budget of about $388 million over the next four-and-a-half years, brings together four separate entities responsible for marketing Australia as a tourist destination: the Tourist Commission, See Australia, the Bureau of Tourism Research and the Tourism Forecasting Council.

The Tourist Commission's managing director, Ken Boundy, will head Tourism Australia until the group's board of directors names a successor. Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer was appointed the group's chairman of the board.

"Tourism Australia brings together all the major firepower of the Australian federal government's tourism research and marketing organizations under one body," said a Tourism Australia spokeswoman.

Said Boundy: "Tourism is growing in importance as an economic driver in Australia and is particularly important for the country's regional development. The formation of Tourism Australia consolidates Australia's tourism marketing functions into one organization and will introduce a framework that will allow our industry to grow and prosper. The result will be more streamlined marketing, a reduction in duplication of effort and increased return on investment for the Australian tourism industry."

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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