Tassie has it all: tourism chief

THE newly appointed head of Tourism Tasmania has described the state as "Australia on steroids".

Former chief executive of the Northern Territory's tourism authority John Fitzgerald was announced as the new chief executive of Tourism Tasmania last week.

Mr Fitzgerald said the two places where he had most wanted to work were the Northern Territory and Tasmania, where he spent a 10-day drive holiday a few years ago.

"I often say Tasmania is Australia on steroids - everything's there and it's so accessible," Mr Fitzgerald said.

He has essentially traded places with Tony Mayell, who quit his post at Tourism Tasmania after being headhunted by the new Northern Territory government to lead a restructure of its tourism agency.

Mr Fitzgerald said it was an exciting time for Tasmania's tourism industry.

"I think it's getting a growing urban groove," he said. "Tassie is more and more on people's lips."

He already knows exactly what it's like to live in a city ranked in Lonely Planet's hottest cities top 10 with Darwin making the list last year.

Mr Fitzgerald has also worked as head of Tourism Sunshine Coast and has been chief operating officer for the nation's Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre.

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said that under Mr Fitzgerald's watch the territory saw its first positive growth for domestic tourism in four years.

His appointment was also welcomed by Tourism Industry Council Tasmania.

"We particularly note John's extensive background in regional tourism that will no doubt be an asset in the process of bedding down a vibrant regional tourism structure in Tasmania," it said.

Mr Fitzgerald is preparing to make the move with his wife and two daughters before starting work on January 7.

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