ONE of Australia's most experienced leisure and tourism industry executives has been appointed chief executive officer of the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS), taking on the role in the lead up to the 2000 Perth Royal Show. Simon Lyas took up his new post earlier this month, just six weeks before the start of this year's agricultural showcase, and brings to the RAS more than two decades of tourism and leisure experience throughout Australia, North America and South East Asia, including his most recent position as Underwater World's project manager since 1997. Mr Lyas said, while the Perth Royal Show was already the biggest annual community event in WA, there was still the opportunity to attract more people to the Show. "There are also commercial opportunities to explore, particularly in regards to maximising the use of Claremont Showgrounds' upgraded facilities on a year round basis," he said. "Another priority will be to increase the profile of the RAS as a key player in the state's development".