My name is Paul Thompson and I have just moved up from regional Victoria to take on the role as the new Tourism Development Officer, after over 6 years of great service from Peter Grigg who, as it happens, is moving to regional Victoria.

At least it is not NSW!

After growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne, I took up outdoor pursuits and headed overseas to the UK where, with my mountaineering and skiing background, I got involved with tourism operations in the Scottish Highlands, Scandinavia, Europe, Africa, Asia and Antarctica, working as a ski instructor, and mountain and tour guide.

After 16 years, I returned to Victoria with my family to manage the Cape Otway Lightstation and develop it as a tourism experience. Living on the edge of Australia in such a varied role – liaising with Parks Victoria, Heritage Victoria, Heritage Australia, Aboriginal groups and conservation organisations – provided many challenges. With its daily tours, café, and accommodation options, the Cape Otway Lightstation now has well over 100,000 visitors, employs over 30 staff, and is arguably the best lighthouse experience in Australia, if not the world (I guess I am a bit biased)!

I was also active on various tourism boards including Geelong Otway Tourism, local regional tourism organisations, and Tourism Alliance Victoria, now Victorian Tourism Industry Council.

More recently, I have been working in my own nature-based tourism businesses within the many regions of Victoria.

Now seeking new challenges and a change of environment, I have come to Emerald with my family to take on this interesting role and assist in the tourism development of this vibrant, historic and naturally-diverse region. I look forward to working with the many tourism operators and accommodation providers both within the Central Highlands and neighbouring regions.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be out and about visiting and experiencing all this great region has to offer and look forward to meeting you on my travels.

For more information or a catch-up, contact Paul Thompson E: or T: (07) 4982 4386.

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