30 August 2019

Andrew Bullock

Andrew Bullock

Chief Executive Officer, 1834 Hotels - 1834 Hospitality
Chair, South Australian Tourism Commission
Bachelor of Management (Tourism and Hospitality)

The South Australian tourism industry is thriving and passionate South Aussie, Andrew Bullock, has spent a good part of this century immersed in the business climbing the ranks at 1834 Hotels - 1834 Hospitality, formerly known as Country Club Hotels & Resorts.

This experience, and knack for knowing what makes our state great, has also made him the perfect fit for his newest role, the Chair of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) Board.

Before Andrew was heading the SATC Board,he began his career at Country Club Hotels & Resorts in 2002 while still studying at UniSA.

Throughout the two decades he has been a part of the company, he has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of the company across Australia and responsible for generation of annual sales in excess of $100 million.

The 1834 Hotels network is a “holistic management service” that offers a range of accommodation – including the Mayfair Hotel, The Meridien, the Barossa Weintal Hotel and even more cafes, restaurants and bars, golf courses, function and wedding venues – dotted both regionally and in capital cities throughout the country.

The Mayfair Hotel
The Mayfair Hotel on King William Street in Adelaide

After initially starting out in sales, Andrew was eventually promoted to the Group General Manager, with this role encompassing all operational aspects of the group of hotels and resorts. But then in 2008, at 29-yearsold, he became the Chief Executive Officer after founder Ian Conolly, both a mentor and a friend, passed away.

Andrew still cites Ian, the banker turned manager, as “the most inspiring person he ever met” having had a significant impact his professional career and still holds his advice and guidance close to his heart.

“He taught me that you don’t have to be a dictator in business to get positive outcomes, you need to be firm however positive outcomes are always possible with a positive outlook,” he says.

As CEO, Andrew led the company through a number of developments and its increasingly diverse portfolio. When he started, the chain managed a network of four hotels – this number has now grown to 23. And now with almost 1000 staff employed under the 1834 banner, it makes them one of the largest regional tourism employers in South Australia.

Andrew didn’t always imagine himself playing such a pivotal role in the tourism sector though. It was only after becoming involved in the industry that he realised he had a passion and inherent knack for it.

In his two decades with the company, Andrew says the best part of his job has been the opportunity to work with the wide range of people he’s been in contact with and he’s particularly proud of watching the 1834 group develop and grow.

Andrew Bullock

“I spent some time in sales initially before becoming involved at a more senior management level,” he says. “I became very enthusiastic about tourism and hospitality in South Australia for a number of reasons. As well as the terrific growth we have seen in recent years, one of the most exciting prospects is the capacity we have for further growth.”

“I often find myself thinking back on theory that I learned at uni and now use in day-to-day work. I believe having that background from UniSA has allowed me to progress much quicker in my career and development.”

On top of his work managing the operations and finances, and devising key business strategies for revenue growth at 1834 Hotels, last month Andrew was officially named as the Chair of South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) Board.

Here he will use his extensive experience and knowledge of the sector to fulfil the SATC’s mission to make South Australia a destination of choice for international and domestic visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most exciting industries to be a part of. For me one of the great advantages is the economic benefits it provides local economies by being a reliable and sought-after exporter of goods,” he says.

The visitor economy created by tourism is important because much of the economic benefit it brings to the state flows to regional communities and also has a positive impact on other industries such as agriculture, wine, retail, education, real estate and transport.

Looking forward, Andrew believes that nationally we are at the cusp of further strong growth in the international markets.

The Clare Valley Riesling Trail. Photo by SA Tourism Commission
The Clare Valley Riesling Trail. Photo by SA Tourism Commission

“China is in incredible growth, now our challenge as a country is to ensure we continue to get our market share internationally and grow that market share,” he says.

“In South Australia the story is similar – we have seen terrific growth – now our challenge is to grow that further and see a greater market share of visitation to Australia visiting South Australia.

“As a potential net exporter the benefit and opportunity for the state is significant and in particular with the regional dispersal that tourism provides, we can see economic growth in regional South Australia from tourism activation.

“Tourism can also become the jobs of the future in areas that otherwise have limited opportunity.”

He’s right – who doesn’t want to go on a holiday?

As a seasoned tourism professional Andrew also knows a thing or two about hidden gems around the state too. He recommends the Riesling Trail next time you are looking to experience the best South Australia has to offer.

“There are so many wonderful spots in South Australia it would be hard to pick just one! I do have a soft spot for the Clare Valley – I think the opportunity to ride a bike along the Riesling Trail and pop into a few wineries on the way is such a terrific experience.”


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