After bucking industry trends and growing 20 per cent annually in recent years, Symbio Wildlife Park has put on a new sales and marketing manager to generate even more business for the family run Helensburgh zoo.
And managing director John Radnidge and general manager Matt Radnidge were able to turn to a marketing expert who had done similar work with them previously at Tourism Wollongong.
The decision to appoint Vera Cvetkoski comes as the Radnidge family plan the biggest expansion in the park's history following the Federal and State government funding announced in the second round of the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund.
Plans are well underway for the $1.54 million investment on major new exhibits and facility upgrades.
The plans include an African animal exhibit but Matt said some of the first exhibits built would be a new koala breeding sanctuary and a indoor reptile experience with 22 displays and five of the deadliest snakes in the world.
Mrs Cvetkoski was involved in the start of Wollongong's push into the Asian market during and after the successful Wollongong Image Campaign a decade ago and intends to use many of the contacts she made again.
John said the IRIIF funding had allowed Symbio to take a 10 year plan and roll it out within 18 months.
"IRIIF has allowed us to embark on all of these projects but we have needed someone like Vera for a long time," he said.
"Now the time is right and we wanted the best and that is why Vera is working with us and giving us her experience, knowledge, personality, ability, commitment and passion. We know of her capabilities and where she can help us to grow and take our product to the world and create greater opportunities for employment and business development within the region."
Mrs Cvetkoski said she did not hesitate when the Radnidge family asked her to join the team.
"I saw that passion last decade whenever I brought an international group up here," she said.
"I know the family and I know the product and this is really exciting."