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Tourism Snowy Mountains (TSM) Executive Officer, Neil Thew has today announced that he will be leaving the organisation to pursue a management position with Snowy Hydro Ltd.

‘’My decision to leave TSM has been an extremely difficult one to take. I’ve spent three wonderful years with the organisation to help shape the development of tourism in our region. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the incredible TSM board and all of the region’s stakeholders. I feel that TSM has been a valuable contributor to the region’s visitor economy and can continue to be in the future. My new role with Snowy Hydro will hopefully enable me to take a TSM board position, so I will still be involved,’’ said Mr. Thew.

‘’The board of TSM is indebted to Neil for his efforts with the organisation. He has placed TSM in a sound financial position, adopted changes that have improved operations, forged better community perceptions and implemented very successful marketing campaigns that have enhanced the region’s awareness and attractiveness as a year-round destination contributing to on-going visitor number increases.

We are sorry to see Neil go, we completely understand his decision and wish him every success in the future; it’s heartening to know that he will be remaining in the region and is likely to continue with his involvement in TSM, said TSM Chairman Peter Cochran’’


The departure of Neil certainly does not spell the demise of TSM. The Board has vowed to continue to act as a key advocate of tourism in the Snowy Mountains, even though the situation for regional tourism bodies has been plagued with uncertainty in recent times.

With the review of Regional Tourism Organisations (RTO), initiated by the NSW government and the impending formation of new Destination Networks, as well as the merging of local government areas; it has been a challenging twelve months for all RTO’s including TSM.

There has been no clarity on how the relationship between government and the tourism industry is expected to evolve. The TSM board is adamant that the development of tourism in the Snowy Mountains cannot be left to government alone.

‘’TSM has been and remains an extremely important forum, bringing together the major private sector stakeholders, National Parks, Snowy Hydro and government, to advocate, plan and implement various activities under the one united Snowy Mountains brand to ensure the growth and continuing success of the industry,’’ said Peter Cochran, TSM Chair.

‘’It is critical that the industry continues to be represented by such a body, independent of but supported by and working in harmony with Snowy Monaro Regional Council (SMRC), Destination NSW (DNSW) and the Southern NSW Destination Network (SDN), so that the Snowy Mountains, the region and the brand, continues to be managed effectively and is not diluted,’’ continued Mr. Cochran.

At the time of writing TSM is in negotiations with the state government, SMRC and key regional industry to find a harmonious and endorsed plan for all parties to work collaboratively. It is proposed that SMRC focuses its’ efforts at a local level through town marketing and community events with TSM, in concert with SDN, working on broader regional marketing. TSM would also widen its’ focus on the long-term economic benefits of tourism that includes product development, major events, infrastructure development, employment opportunities and other activities that draw people and investment to the region.

‘’A new funding model is now being developed; National Parks, Snowy Hydro, SMRC and other existing partners have committed to on-going support of TSM, however the local government mergers have seen five councils morph into one and Destination NSW funding of RTO’s has been removed, so long-term capacity funding is an issue, in saying that though we have enough funds to remain operational for quite some time yet,’’ said Mr Cochran.

‘’TSM will remain the owner of and continue to maintain and develop the very popular as well as other vital Snowy Mountains brand assets, plus, we still have a region-wide spring, summer and autumn campaign in market that is tracking exceptionally well and showing very positive results,'' concluded Mr Cochran.

Media Contact: Peter Cochran – 0417 370 490