Tourism

BridgeClimb CEO resigns amid drop in patronage

BridgeClimb Sydney CEO Chris Zumwalt has resigned amid a slump in bookings and a rise in maintenance fees.

This comes about a year and a half after the operating contract changed hands from Otto Holdings, the company who began the climb, to The Hammons family, which runs the Blue Mountain’s Scenic World.

BridgeClimb said in a statement its executive team, with the direct support of the board, would continue business as usual until the board concludes its search for a new CEO.

“The Board thanks Chris for his contribution and valuable leadership of the BridgeClimb team over the past 18 months, and his extensive contributions to Hammons Holdings over the past 12 years,” the statement said.

Travel Weekly understands business has dropped since new management took over, with the recent bushfires and coronavirus outbreak exacerbating the situation.

The Financial Review reported staff have said Zumwalt and the family had not adequately adapted their management style from its high volume business in the mountains to a more expensive, smaller city attraction.

Zumwalt told the ABC the bushfires were linked to a 15 to 20 per cent year-on-year decline in patronage.

The new owners have also been plagued by a much harsher deal struck with the NSW Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) to win the tender, that saw bridge maintenance commitments, which the company has to pay 15 per cent of, grow to almost triple what Otto Holdings had to pay.

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