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Qantas cuts ties with Tourism Australia


Qantas has severed its ties with Tourism Australia over what it called a “conflict of interests”.

The Australian national carrier claimed yesterday (Wednesday 28 November 2012) that Tourism Australia’s chairman, former Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon, is undermining the airline’s restructuring attempts, including its proposed tie-up with Emirates.

Qantas accused former CEO Geoff Dixon of trying to "unravel" its restructuring plans
Qantas accused former CEO Geoff Dixon of trying to "unravel" its restructuring plans

“This conflict has arisen from the involvement of Tourism Australia’s chairman with a syndicate that is actively canvassing fundamental changes to the Qantas Group strategy, including the proposed partnership with Emirates,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

“Qantas cannot continue to collaborate with an agency whose chairman is a member of a syndicate committed to unravelling Qantas’ structure and direction,” it added.

The suspension of relations between the two companies means the cancellation of a AU$50 million (US$52m) deal to engage in joint promotional activities and marketing efforts. Qantas added however, that “not one dollar” will be removed from its tourism marketing budget, and that it will now invest through state tourism agencies, rather than the national body.

Responding to the claim, Tourism Australia’s managing director Andrew McEvoy confirmed that it will continue to work with Qantas in its US marketing campaign, ‘G’day USA’, and the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) 2013, but said it will “review other programmes”.

Qantas’ current Group CEO, Alan Joyce, announced a controversial restructuring plan last year, which led to months of industrial action. Earlier this year it confirmed plans to join forces with Emirates, redirecting many of its services through Dubai. Current Tourism Australia chairman Dixon ran Qantas from 2001 to 2008, when Joyce took over.