Qantas has cut its long-standing ties with Tourism Australia, due to claims the tourism body's chairman Geoff Dixon has been trying to undermine the structure and direction of the airline.
The massive marketing tie-up between the two organisations has been valued at $50 million over three years.
Qantas said in a statement: “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.
“Qantas cannot continue to collaborate with an agency whose Chairman is a member of a syndicate committed to unravelling Qantas’ structure and direction.”
It has been reported the syndicate also includes renowned adman John Singleton and famous Australian businessman Gerry Harvey.
The airline said it was still committed to Australian tourism, but said it would support the state tourism bodies instead of Tourism Australia.
“Qantas remains committed to supporting Australian tourism. Not one dollar will be removed from tourism marketing as a consequence of this decision. Rather than providing this support through the federal agency, Qantas will instead look to do so through the states.”
However, the airline also said that in order to avoid harming the tourism industry, it would continue with certain initiatives that are already underway.
It has been reported in News Limited publications that Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce wrote a letter to Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson yesterday to inform him of Qantas' actions. It has also been reported that Joyce said he would not deal with Tourism Australia while Dixon was in charge.
Dixon is a former chief executive of Qantas. He left the company in 2008.
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