July 6, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio

The tourism and events community of South Australia has lost one of its finest leaders with the passing of Bill Spurr AO. The much-loved industry legend did not recover after suffering a stroke last week.

The former chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission and recent chair of the Adelaide Venue Management Corporation died on Monday July 4.

His contribution to tourism, business events, venues and education has been enormous over decades and his death has shocked the industry.

Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas said he was shocked and saddened by the news of his passing.

“Bill was a great South Australia[n] who made an enormous contribution to our state, especially the tourism sector. On behalf of the SA Government, I extend my condolences to his wife Helen, family and friends.”

Spurr was Chair of Education at the University of Adelaide, a former executive director of the Australian Hotels Association and the former chief executive of the Adelaide Convention Bureau, as well as serving on the board of Zoos SA and SeaLink.

A statement from Adelaide Convention Centre, which is part of the Adelaide Venue Management Corporation, said Spurr was of one of South Australia’s most respected and admired public figures.

“Bill leaves an indelible mark on our state’s tourism, entertainment and business events industries following decades of incredible service. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bill’s wife Helen and family at this sad time as we remember and honour a remarkable South Australian and his extraordinary legacy.”

Chair of Business SA, the state’s chamber of commerce and industry and owner of Star of Greece, Nikki Govan said Bill Spurr was an outstanding individual loved and respected by many.

“As the head of TAFE, he was at the start of the journey for many tourism students and he supported many others through their careers. I was among them,” Govan said.

Personally, I am very sad about this news. Over many years I had the opportunity to work with Bill in various roles. He was a grand human and outstanding leader. He will be missed by so many. His legacy is enormous. Through his gracious leadership, fine intellect, his warmth and passion – he ably led so many parts of South Australia’s visitor economy. South Australia has achieved so much because of his outstanding leadership.

Vale Bill Spurr. Gone too soon.

Our deepest condolences to his wife Helen and his family, friends and industry colleagues who will be mourning this great loss.