Mr Smith is Chairman of Flight Centre, one of the world’s largest retail and corporate travel businesses and one of the industry’s enduring success stories. He was founder and Managing Director of Tourism Leisure Corporation and has extensive experience in audit and risk due to his time at Arthur Andersen & Co. He is a chartered accountant.
Mr Smith joins the NRMA at a time of strategic growth in tourism and transport for the organisation, which is Australia’s largest Mutual with over 2.6 million Members. The NRMA holds over $800 million in assets across hotels, holiday parks, travel and car hire services.
The NRMA owns Thrifty Car Rentals, Manly Fast Ferries, Fantasea, jointly owns Travelodge and Hotel Kurrajong, owns and operates over 40 Holiday Parks nationwide and has a significant shareholding in the Elanor Metro and Prime Regional Hotel Fund. The NRMA is now one of the largest private owner and operator of bed nights in Australia.
NRMA Chair Tim Trumper said the appointment of Gary Smith to the Board further enhanced the organisation’s vision to become Australia’s leading transport and tourism provider.
“Gary Smith is a Captain of Australia’s tourism industry. The NRMA is thrilled that he has joined the NRMA Board as we seek to boost Australia’s tourism industry and jobs and reinforce our commitment to strong governance,” Mr Trumper said.
“The NRMA’s growth in transport and tourism over the last three years has helped reshape this crucial and fast-growing industry. We are unabashed advocates for growing domestic tourism and investing in regional communities and Gary has been a trailblazer in this regard.”
Mr Smith said he welcomed the opportunity to be part of the NRMA Board at a time when the organisation was growing services to Members in transport and tourism.
“The NRMA has a great brand and holds a unique asset in its strong membership base. The strategy of investing in assets that deliver greater value to its membership is exciting and I look forward to working with my fellow Directors to achieve these goals,” Mr Smith said.
“I have worked extensively in regional tourism and I see great value in the role the NRMA can play as a voice for regional tourism. The widely-regarded advocacy arm of the NRMA can provide real clout for parts of Australia that are far too often forgotten.
“The NRMA has a strong balance sheet and it has demonstrated that it is not afraid to use that balance sheet to boost Australia’s tourism, especially in regional areas. It has embarked on an exciting strategy and I look forward to playing my part on the NRMA Board.”