Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) CEO Jason Dawson is leaving the regional tourism organisation to take off as Air New Zealand's new regional affairs manager from February.
In the interim, the HWT board has appointed development manager Nicola Greenwell as general manager from February 3.
Dawson has been with the organisation since 2016 and says it has been a privilege and honour to lead and represent the tourism and events sector for the Waikato.
"I'm hugely proud of the achievements of the team, the organisation and the sector throughout this time. I feel I'm leaving the organisation in good heart, with strong leadership, a very capable team and a draft destination management plan which will steer the sector through the next five to 10 years."
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Board chair Richard Leggat says Greenwell will head the HWT team while the board considers the skills and capabilities required to lead the organisation as the tourism sector emerges from the very dark clouds of Covid-19.
For the past six years, Greenwell led the tourism organisation's major events portfolio and the industry development and capability building programme, as well as providing support for the feasibility of new products and operators coming into the sector.
Leggat says: "As a board, we are very comfortable with Nicola assuming the interim role and we will be focused on ensuring we undertake a thorough search to find the right person to follow on from the great work done by Jason."
He says that all HWT programmes and activities will continue as planned and the focus on leading, supporting and advocating for Waikato's visitor and events sector remains unchanged.
"The organisation remains committed to supporting our sector to navigate the new world with Covid-19, promote the region domestically and prepare for the international border reopening. We will also be undertaking a second round of engagement and consultation on the draft destination management plan for Waikato."