AA Tourism Chief Executive, Peter Blackwell was someone that earned the distinction of sticking around for long enough to become a trusted and stable part of the fabric that forms the dynamic tourism industry.
After a while you start taking industry leaders like Peter for granted and it was only when I started hearing rumours several weeks ago that he was resigning from the AA that I started thinking about the huge void that he would leave behind.
A quick search of Google reveals a pithy 2-liner in a Tourism Industry Association newsletter that confirms that:
"TIA Board member Peter Blackwell announced this week he had resigned as AA Tourism Chief Executive, effective 28 September."From a motel industry perspective, Peter was known as a regular inspirational speaker at motel gatherings and the head of an organisation that the majority of motels still choose to advertise with. Due to a quirk that dictates that the majority of moteliers don't tend to get out much, only a small percentage would have personally connected with Peter. And that's a shame.
Those that were fortunate to meet Peter were impressed with his drive and passion. A large man with shy persona would transform into an inspiring and gifted communicator behind a lectern. Peter will be best remembered for committing AA Tourism into promoting domestic tourism in recent years and this provided a great emotional story of "the little guy" single-handedly filling the void of promoting domestic tourism.
The motel industry have been calling for "someone" to take up the challenge of a domestic tourism campaign for many years and gave enthusiastic lip-service when the AA took up the mantle. By their actions, probably too few individual motels supported AA Tourism's domestic campaigns and this year, domestic tourism is off the menu. I sense that Peter may have been somewhat perplexed with this?
So after what has probably been the hardest year of trading for AA NZ Tourism operations - where to now? We hear that the grocery business is beckoning...