Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) has completed a major restructure by creating a new chief executive officer position.
James Shearer has taken on the role, bringing a solid tourism background beginning in New Zealand before working up to executive roles at the Best Western hotel chain and BIG4 Holiday Parks in Melbourne.
Mr Shearer said his appointment was “a privilege” and he was excited to work with BMLOT to market “this absolutely extraordinary area of natural beauty”.
BMLOT chairman Randall Walker welcomed Mr Shearer to the newly-created role and said the organisation was “fortunate to have secured such a high calibre individual as James, and with a track record of delivering results”.
Mr Shearer’s appointment was the culmination of a four year journey of reform, beginning with an independent review commissioned by BMLOT and a board commitment to restructure the organisation, which included an international search for a CEO.
“A key part of our reform process was separating our staffing, the secretariat services, from Blue Mountains City Council,’’ Mr Walker said.
“While we appreciated that arrangement for many years, our organisation had evolved and there was a definite need to avoid confusion of roles and directly contract our own resources either solely or primarily focused on BMLOT priorities.”
Mr Shearer was chosen after an extensive recruitment process that attracted applicants from Italy, New Zealand and England.
“James brings to BMLOT a unique combination of CEO, marketing, membership, major brand, accommodation and regional tourism skills,” Mr Walker said.
“He has tourism experience and a positive track record from New Zealand and Victoria, both of which are recognised as tourism success stories.”
Mr Shearer said he aimed to help grow tourism revenue to the region.
“Membership organisations are successful when the individual members are successful so over the coming months my priority will be getting out to meet with as many tourism operators as I can and talk about their business and priorities,” he said.
BMLOT has also continued to implement changes specific to the Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains Accommodation Association (BMAA) has evolved into the Blue Mountains Accommodation and Tourism Association (BMATA) which allows BMLOT to focus on domestic and international marketing in conjunction with Destination NSW, Tourism Australia and other stakeholders.