Leading Tourism Fiji through and (hopefully) out of a global pandemic, will likely be a tough but rewarding task. And the role now falls to Brent Hill.
In his immediate past role as Executive Director of Marketing for the South Australian Tourism Commission, Hill was credited for growing total tourism expenditure in the region from A$5.3B to A$8.1B in a four year period (a 53% increase). He also led South Australian tourism’s recovery following the devastating bushfires in the state by developing successful campaigns to re-generate industry business. He was also responsible for an A$30M annual marketing budget and 55 staff across the world to market South Australia.
Here, we chat to Brent from his new home in Fiji.
My first actual paying job was picking oranges in the Riverland in South Australia. It was about 40 degrees every day, we had to wear long sleeves due to the constant scratches and we got paid hardly anything. On day 5 we decided it was more fun to head to the river and cool off for most of the morning! But what I did learn was that to earn money you had to put in the hard yards, and nothing ever comes easy.. Work hard and you get the results.. But don’t forget to have fun along the way!
Starting a new position, before I’ve even sat in the chair for the first time, I spend time looking at data – what are going to be our core objectives, what’s been the trends and numbers to date, and where are things tracking.. This gives me a bit of a guide as to where I might start to spend my time initially. I also like to go through the team – look at their backgrounds, get to know them so I know a bit about them before meeting them.
The pandemic has shown me how resilient people can be. I have seen some of the most incredible innovation and entrepreneurship, borne out of seemingly the most challenging of circumstances. The tourism industry has shown itself to be big-hearted, to care for each other, and to be optimistic. Personally for me, its shown me that growth isn’t always constant, that long term plans just aren’t worth writing given how much can change, but I would like to think most of all that I’ve seen my empathy grow – I realised how much people need each other – family, friends, team members.. And I realised more than ever that I am comfortable to lead.
Aisle! I’m 6”3, so stretching into the aisle is a must, but hate getting run over by the trolleys!
Seeing family and friends! I cannot wait to share my Fiji and what we’ve discovered with friends and family who are very keen to come over.
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