Tourism should not be a political football

The NSW opposition’s commitment to tourism is in question if its continuing public comments about the business events industry in Sydney are any guide, according to the Accommodation Association of Australia.

This follows the opposition’s latest unnecessary outburst about the process of developing a new convention centre in Sydney. “It’s disappointing that John Robertson is continuing to use the tourism industry as a political football,” said the chief executive officer of the Accommodation Association of Australia, Richard Munro. “In September last year, Mr Robertson made negative public comments about the transitional arrangements for the new Sydney Convention Centre and at the time, the association wrote to him to express our frustration and disappointment with his views.

“In our letter, we also invited Mr Robertson to tour a major hotel in Sydney to give him a greater understanding of how heavily the accommodation industry relies on the business events sector, which is worth more than $186 million to the NSW economy each year. Unfortunately, Mr Robertson did not take up our offer. In fact, we have never received a reply to our letter.

“Visitors who travel for business purposes are the backbone of the accommodation industry in Sydney and across Australia more broadly. The more meetings, conferences and other business events that Sydney is able to host, the more our industry – as well as other sectors of tourism, including retail, transport, restaurants, food-and-drink suppliers, laundries and attractions – derive benefit.

“Ensuring that we continue to attract major business events has a lot to do with business meetings infrastructure, which is why the visionary new Sydney Convention Centre is so important.

“It’s time that the NSW opposition recognised this instead of using its establishment to try to score cheap political points.”

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