Career in focus: Andrew Clark
Andrew Clark, Regional Director — Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
I’ve have just passed 15 years with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Primarily, it is a marketing role promoting Hong Kong across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region, as a leisure and business destination.
We collaborate with various stakeholders across multiple sectors, not just tourism, to create marketing campaigns that show the destination in a positive light and inspire travellers to go there.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
Having graduated in Biological Sciences at London University, I started my career as a graduate business trainee with Unilever’s agricultural division. After around four years, I decided I wanted to enter the burgeoning leisure sector and joined Ladbroke’s casino division, where I worked as a croupier in Knightsbridge, in London’s West End. Following this I moved to France to work for a tour operator. This ignited my passion for the travel and tourism industry and since then I haven’t felt the urge to change industries.
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
Yes, I hold a degree from London University. However, in today’s workplace I don’t feel that formal qualifications are an absolute necessity for many roles in our industry. When looking for staff, I first and foremost look for the right attitude, enthusiasm and a desire to learn and be the best they possibly can be.
4. What do you love about your job?
Working with my team in particular.
Also, the ever changing marketing and tourism landscape and how consumers continually evolve the way they research, plan and book their travel. Then, how this impacts what strategy and resources are required to effectively inspire and influence them, through to not only the point of purchase but also so they share their experience with friends and family.
Lastly, dealing with a wide variety of stakeholders from airlines, travel trade and media, through to our colleagues and industry partners in Hong Kong.
5. What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
SARS and our subsequent recovery in 2003 is a standout and tested our crisis management and resilience.
Also, the demise of Ansett when I was with the Northern Territory Tourist Commission (NTTC), now Tourism Northern Territory (TNT), given that air access was so critical to the Northern Territory.
6. What factors were central to your success?
Key factors which have contributed to my career growth have included having good colleagues working alongside me, being reliable and consistent, and also under promising but then over delivering.
7. Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did you find them?
No, but I did learn a lot from a number of managers and colleagues along the way. I found it was more a case of taking on board the better aspects of the corporate culture within some of the organisations for whom I’ve worked.
8. What are the keys to good business?
Recruit the best possible staff, and allow them to shine. You also need to provide clarity in the organisation’s direction and individual roles, and foster a positive “can do” and collaborative work culture.
9. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
I’m not sure about following in my footsteps; but as it’s a small industry, don’t BS — you’ll soon get found out! Deliver on your promises and go the extra mile when possible. People may not thank you directly but it is always noted.