Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston speaks to the media during a post-game press conference following the Round 20 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and Newcastle Knights at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville, Friday, July 27, 2018. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Queensland Rugby League star Jonathan Thurston has always been an ambassador for the state, but now the state government's made it official by appointing him to the board of Tourism and Events Queensland.
Thurston, who retires from football at the end of this season, has been added to the powerful tourism body's board as a part of a broader overhaul of its members, with five people appointed.
State Tourism Minister Kate Jones said in addition to his profile as a football player, JT brings a wealth of experience both in regional aviation and indigenous culture in his role as a community leader.
"JT is a much-loved Queenslander, an influencer and a leader both on and off the field," Ms Jones said in a statement.
"I am looking forward to hearing his advice and insights as to how we can grow an industry that is vital to regional communities."
For his part, Thurston said the appointment dovetails well with his work with indigenous communities in north Queensland.
"Living in regional Queensland, I also know and understand how important events are to our communities, not only attracting visitors but also providing a great source of pride.
The board appointment follows on from JT being named Queenslander of the Year in 2017 as well as being awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal for his work with indigenous communities.
Queensland's tourism industry is worth over $25 billion and supports over 200,000 jobs.
© AAP 2018