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Australian Cruise Association Extends CEO Contract

Jill Abel
Jill Abel

By The Maritime Executive 2019-04-04 18:33:27

Grant Gilfillan, Chair of Australian Cruise Association, has announced that the Management Committee has unanimously and enthusiastically supported the extension of Jill Abel’s contract as CEO of the Association for a three- year term.

“Jill has done an outstanding job in this critically important role and during her 14 years with the Association has shown incredible leadership to help grow the cruise industry in Australia” said Gilfillan.

“During her tenure, our membership numbers have nearly doubled, with the Association now representing a diverse range of organisations including gateway and regional ports, international, national and state tourism agencies, shipping agents, ground handlers, inbound tour operators, iconic attractions and companies dedicated to marketing the region as a world class cruise destination” added Gilfillan.

Abel began working in the cruise industry in 1995 when she became a consultant to Hobart Ports – now TasPorts - looking after the operations aspects of cruise ship visits.  That position developed to include the Executive Officer role of Cruise Tasmania, where she was responsible for marketing the state as a cruise destination.

Since her appointment to the Association in 2005, Abel has overseen all marketing initiatives of the member-based organisation including international sales missions and attendance at international cruise events.  Through her efforts, ACA has grown the number of members attending Seatrade Cruise Global in Florida and last year lead the largest Australian delegation in the Association’s history to this vitally important event underlining the importance of cruise to Australia.

She has also worked tirelessly to bring together all aspects of the industry and recently led the negotiations and signing of an MOU with CLIA which now sees the two organisations working together for the first time to develop joint Economic Impact Assessments and Sustainability Reports.

In recognition of her deep knowledge of the issues surrounding cruise, Abel has also been invited to sit on several Federal and State Government working committees to address current and future issues.  These have included the Tourism Access Working Group, the NSW Cruise Industry Reference Group - addressing the future of Sydney ports; and the National Sea Passenger Facilitation Committee.

“I have been fortunate to lead the Association through some truly exciting times,” said Abel. “Cruise has grown exponentially in the last decade with more homeporting than ever before out of our gateway cities, increased regional port visits and new cruise lines such as Viking, Windstar and Dream cruises entering this market – bringing international visitors to complement the strong domestic market.” 

“I look forward to continuing the role of the Association in supporting this growth.  I see great prospects in the coming years to work more holistically across the industry – for example working with accommodation partners to drive more pre- and post-cruise visitation. In turn, this will drive greater income from cruise into the economy which already benefits from passenger and crew spend and port revenue from the cruise lines. 

“We also are excited about working with regional destinations to enhance their development making them cruise ready. This will lead to greater visitor dispersal around the country.  There is so much more to be done and I am grateful for the confidence shown by the Committee in allowing me to continue to drive these opportunities,” Abel concluded. 

Abel’s contract is continued through until July, 2022.

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