11 December 2023

Three fresh faces focus on new opportunities to attract visitors to city

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four people standing on coastal green space

New appointees to the Destination Wollongong board (from left) Amy Duggan, Brooke Robson and Mark Upton with chair Simon Kersten. Photo: Supplied.

A former Matildas player is one of three new appointments to the board of the city’s peak tourism organisation, Destination Wollongong.

Amy Duggan, along with marketing expert Brooke Robson and Sage Hotel general manager Mark Upton, will bring “fresh energy and focus” to the organisation, according to board chair Simon Kersten.

Amy played for the Matildas from 1997 to 2005, with recurring ankle injuries forcing her out of the game.

Since then she has established herself as a newsreader and journalist, having worked for major news and sporting news outlets across Australia and hosted Optus Sports’ coverage of the 2019 and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cups.

“As a seasoned board director for VenuesNSW, Football Australia and Illawarra Academy of Sport, as well as various committees, Amy brings her strategic expertise to the table, making a significant impact in organisations,” Simon said.

“Amy’s passion for sports and infrastructure and her advocacy for women’s sports have garnered her notable media coverage, making her a prominent figure in the industry.”

Simon said now was a critical time in the evolution of Wollongong’s visitor economy.

“Coming off the back of the UCI Road World Championships, which saw unprecedented visitation and exposure, we look forward to next year opening the Great Southern Walk, the Illawarra Escarpment mountain bike trails and the Illawarra’s first five-star hotel in the Shell Cove Marina,” he said.

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“The time is perfect to bring some new energy into the organisation to make the most of these opportunities.

“In Brooke, Mark and Amy we have attracted three people who are passionate about Wollongong and the role that visitors play in maintaining a vibrant economy.”

The trio joins current board members Graeme Sutherland, Cr Cameron Walters, Wayne Morris and Renee Campbell.

Simon said Brooke was an experienced marketing professional with more than 12 years’ industry experience, with a focus on marketing and communications.

A graduate of the University of Wollongong, Brooke manages the marketing team of ASX-listed adventure tourism business Experience Co (ASX:EXP). Mark has been general manager of the Sage Hotel, Wollongong, for the past six years.

“Mark’s experience spans over 20-plus years across all sectors of the hospitality, major events and tourism industries,” Simon said.

“His early years as an owner and managing director of one of the leading event management companies in south-east Queensland helped drive his passion and future direction within the hospitality and tourism sector.

“This led to experiences both abroad and in Australia across major events and hotel resort management roles.”

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