Australia’s three peak voices for the accommodation industry are looking to merge and create one “united voice”, according to Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) CEO Michael Johnson.
Speaking earlier this week at the Australasian Hotel Industry Conference & Exhibition (AHICE), Johnson said negotiations are underway to create “one united voice for the accommodation industry nationwide”.
“The Australian Hotels Association (AHA), TAA and Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) are currently in discussions,” he said.
“A small working party has been put together to work on a new model representing one clear national voice.
“This group has been meeting behind the scenes, is making progress, and we are confident of finally bringing the AHA, TAA and AAoA together at this crucial time for our industry.”
Johnson said the initial shutdown of inbound markets and borders earlier this year, followed by the implementation of federal restrictions, have left tourism decimated.
“We now find the majority of hotels in CBDs around the country operating 50 to 60 per cent down on this time last year,” he said.
“Sydney and Melbourne are faring even worse, with room revenues down more than 75 per cent. And it would be even worse without some hotels playing their important roles as quarantine hotels.”
However, Johnson said some green shoots are appearing in parts of regional Australia, especially in places like the Hunter Valley, Byron Bay, Orange, the Blue Mountains and the NSW south coast.
“Tourism, aviation and hospitality will be changed forever by this pandemic [and] we have to readjust our expectations of what a good result actually is,” he said.
“If we continue to judge success by the 85 to 90 per cent occupancy rates we enjoyed in the past, we are going to be miserable for a long time.
We need to be agile, resilient [and] look clear-eyed at what post-COVID success will look like and adjust our operating structures and businesses to the ‘new normal’.”
Johnson’s revelations about the planned merger were backed up in a joint release from the three organisations which said the AHA, TAA and AAoA were working on creating a united voice for the struggling sector.
It is not yet clear what the merger will look like, all three organisations have declined to elaborate on the plans but Travel Weekly understands this is not the first attempt at a merger.