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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Feb. 13, 2008) – John Dean, from Australia, will head the tourism corporation.

The new chief executive's name was announced by tourism minister Wilkie Rasmussen in parliament yesterday.

"This man is a very, very experienced man. Therefore the (tourism) board felt that he is the best candidate who applied. I stand by, as minister, the position of the board."

Rasmussen said Dean, 62, has vast tourism industry experience in Australia.

Dean has over 40 years experience in the tourism and travel industry there. He moves on from his position as the general manager marketing of Pulse Holidays, an outbound international wholesaler specialising in the niche markets of Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, managing director of Australian Reservation Centre/1-Call Holidays, a leading Australian domestic wholesaler, CEO of the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau and group managing director of the Innkeepers Hotel, Resort & Apartment Group in Tasmania.

Rasmussen was asked by leader of the opposition Tom Marsters when the CIP could congratulate one of the three young Cook Islanders they heard had applied for the job. He said these 'capable and experienced youngsters' were Karla Eggelton, Rohan Ellis and Nick Henry. Dean fills the vacancy left by former CEO Chris Wong who resigned last July amid allegations of abuse of public funds. 

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