Voyages Indigenous Tourism officially opened the renovated Sails in the Desert Hotel on Friday, as management insisted the new look resort has addressed a number of problems which plagued it in the past.
The 231-room resort, which is Ayers Rock Resort’s flagship property, has undergone a complete restoration of all rooms and meeting areas, including all restaurants and dining spaces. A new conference centre has also been established, and a range of free cultural activities are now available to all guests.
Voyages Indigenous Tourism managing director Koos Klein explained that the resort had undergone a complete transformation since Voyages acquired the property in May last year, noting that management had “run the hotel into the ground”.
“When we took over the resort, it needed some tender loving care to say it nicely,” he told Travel Today in Ayers Rock over the weekend. “Customers often complained that it was old and run down, that it did not offer value for money, and there was no connection with the local culture.”
Klein admitted that the hotel’s reputation had been trashed over its three decade history, but remained confident the $30 million overhaul would revive the premium resort.
“The ownership of this resort has finally come into the right hands,” he said. “We are well on our way to repositioning the resort and restoring Voyages to its world class status.”
Voyages has also stepped up its commitment to Indigenous employees as it looks to increase its number of Indigenous staff from two to 250 over the next five years. It has also embarked on a national Indigenous training program to “maximise Indigenous employment and engagement”.
Minister for tourism Martin Ferguson commended the resort for its efforts, noting that Voyages was “creating a legacy to overcome difficulties with Indigenous employment”.
“It’s a disgrace to think that the resort had not embraced Indigenous employment in the past,” he said. “They are a huge source of labour at a time of labour shortages, and we now have a real opportunity to create jobs not just for the red centre, but for the rest of Australia.”