It is believed that the move has been sparked by the deepening ill feeling between the current Qantas management and former chief executive, Geoff Dixon, who is now the chairman of Tourism Australia. The move will mean that the carrier will sever a 40-year old partnership with the tourism organisation.
In a statement, the company said that it had ‘suspended any future dealings’ with Australia’s official tourism agency. It went further and said, ‘Qantas cannot continue to collaborate with an agency whose chairman is a member of a syndicate committed to unravelling Qantas’s structure and direction.’
The airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, is believed to have written to Tourism minister, Martin Ferguson, stating that their $50m marketing deal was being suspended. Joyce however said that the company would continue to support the nation’s tourism operators. He said, ‘We deemed it prudent to suspend our partnership with Tourism Australia, we will of course continue to be a proud sponsor of tourism in Australia through other means. The tourism industry can be assured that not one dollar of tourism marketing will be lost as a result of this decision. We believe we are better off working with the states closely in terms of tourism activity. We are not pulling back on tourism support, we are working and have been working in the past with some states like Queensland, like Victoria, like NSW – all the states in the country.’
In a statement, Qantas said, ‘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.’