Industry Pioneer to Head Ecotourism Australia

Ecotourism Australia is proud to announce the appointment of Rod Hillman as Chief Executive Officer, commencing February 2013.

The Chair of Ecotourism Australia, Cameron Kerr said “Rod Hillman brings a great depth of experience across industry and government to the organisation and the ecotourism industry.”

“Rod is a pioneer of the adventure and ecotourism industry in this country.   He has seen the industry from all sides and played an important part in the development of ecotourism, from its formative years through to the substantial industry it is today.”

Nature based tourism is the number one motivator for international and domestic travelers to travel in Australia according to Tourism Australia research while the United Nations World Tourism Organisation is predicting ecotourism demand to grow at 3 to 4 times more than the demand for tourism in general.

Rod Hillman began his career with Top Deck Travel in the 1980’s,  leading tours  throughout  Asia and Europe, then with his own company Therion Adventures in Africa.

He  later headed the tours division and interpretive ranger program at the award winning eco-resort, Kingfisher Bay Resort, before taking up the role of General Manager Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk – another multi  award winning eco attraction.

Rod made the full transition into protected area management, taking up management roles at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra and the Parks department of the ACT government.

More recently Rod was the CEO of the Kokoda Track Authority. He achieved the goal of rebuilding the organisation using local staff and setting it up for long term sustainability. On his return to Australia, Rod worked with the Australian government assisting the growth of tourism in developing countries,  World Heritage matters and capacity building within the Asia Pacific.

“I look forward to working with the ecotourism operators, members and the Board, to continue the Australian ecotourism industry’s leadership in bringing sustainable high quality and engaging experiences to visitors”,  Rod Hillman said.  “I’m proud to be joining Ecotourism Australia who for the past 22 years has led the way in improving the quality of tourism through certification, marketing, training and in providing a strong industry voice in policy making and advocacy.”

Rod will relocate to the National office of Ecotourism Australia in Brisbane where he will guide policy, advocacy and key programs such as Eco Certification, Respecting Our Culture and Climate Action Certification.

Ecotourism Australia Chair, Cameron Kerr said, “The Ecotourism Australia Board would like to thank outgoing CEO Kym Cheatham, who oversaw strong growth in certification and new product development despite a particularly difficult economic climate for the tourism industry. We wish her well with her PhD as she continues her contribution to the ecotourism industry.”


Media comment Cameron Kerr, Chair, Ecotourism Australia

Contact: +61 2 9978 4665

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