GOLD Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton was appointed to the top job after 11 years at the airport, during which she oversaw the last redevelopment in 2010.
She has taken the reins during a period of major change for the precinct, which is about to undergo a $300m expansion.
Ms Charlton has worked on the tourism advisory board for Bond University and remains a member on the advisory board for Southern Cross University Business School.
In 2008 she was awarded the International Woman’s Day Leadership Award for the Gold Coast.
She worked in the Atlanta and Sydney airports during the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and she was in Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“Having come from living in Sydney, I love the fact the Gold Coast has the best of both worlds.
“It has the advantages and opportunities and energy of a city, as well as the schools, shopping centres and restaurants but that’s balanced with a laid-back beachy lifestyle — really, what’s not to love?”
WHAT DO YOU THINK COULD BE DONE BETTER ON THE GOLD COAST?
“As a city, we need to provide a range of ground transport options, if we’re going to be a world-class tourism destination, which I believe we are.
“For me, that’s a light rail connection to the airport.”
IN YOUR TRAVELS, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN BEING DONE ELSEWHERE YOU THINK COULD WORK WELL HERE?
“We have incredible beaches here that are an international drawcard.
“In other countries in South-East Asia and Europe there are more opportunities to have a nice meal or a beer on the beach.
“If we’re committed to being the best tourism destination in the world, we need to find more ways for visitors to engage with the beach.
“It can be done sustainably and in a manner that pays respect to the beautiful coastline — other countries do it really well.
“We’ve got such a long coastline, there would be areas where you wouldn’t have to interact with it and you’d pick quality providers.
“I think that would be a beautiful thing here.”
IF TIME, MONEY, LAWS, AND APPROVALS WERE NO ISSUE, WHAT IS ONE BIG PROJECT YOU’D UNDERTAKE TOMORROW?
“Extend the light rail to the airport, people arriving here expect it, most passengers that arrive from the airport don’t have access to their cars.
“You’d have the system go to Coolangatta too, not just stopping here — we have people who want to go south too so I’d be single-mindedly pushing that one.
“Our preference is for it to come down along the Gold Coast Highway to connect all those lovely villages along the way — it would be a beautiful experience for visitors coming here to go along the beaches.”
WHAT CONVERSATIONS SHOULD GOLD COAST MOVERS AND SHAKERS BE HAVING?
“Where are the women? I am passionate about the advancement of women in corporate life — it is a hard journey.
“It’s something that we need to address on the Gold Coast, I worry that all these wonderful young women in schools on the Gold Coast feel like they have to go somewhere other than the Gold Coast and that’s a terrible thing.
“I don’t think it can be solved by women on our own, there are some things we can do, there are a lot of women here building strong networks — but we also need to have a look to our menfolk and ask them to look at their networks and consider how they can extend them.”
This article was originally published on Gold Coast Bulletin, 12th February 2016. View original article.