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The search is on for a new leader after one of tourism’s most respected managing directors quit unexpectedly.

Carolyn Turnbull has announced she will be departing Tourism Western Australia next week (May 10), ending her three-year tenure in the top job.

“After careful consideration I have decided to embark on a new journey by accepting a leadership position in the tourism and hospitality sector,” Ms Turnbull wrote on her Linkedin profile.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to serve in the role and one of the proudest achievements has been the significant increase in visitor spend, reaching a record-breaking $17.7 billion – surpassing pre-COVID levels by a phenomenal 31 per cent.”

Ms Turnbull said details of her next role would be released on June 1 and that she looked forward to “building on my contribution” to the Western Australian economy.

“Carolyn’s leadership has been instrumental in launching numerous initiatives, programs, and securing substantial funding, all of which have contributed to the impressive growth of tourism in our state,” said Di Bain, Chair of Tourism WA.

Stepping into the role of Acting Managing Director is Stephanie Underwood, who has more than a decade of experience in the WA public sector.

Having joined the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) in 2021, Stephanie was appointed Tourism WA’s Executive Director of Strategy and Engagement in January 2023.

The search for a permanent Managing Director for Tourism WA is now underway.