Getting to the grassroots: talking to the local pollies

The accommodation industry has a major opportunity to seize the number one industry recognition by our political leaders and their governments, but we all need to make sure they are well briefed.

This is a call to arms time for all of us in the tourist and accommodation industry to detail our diverse cases of why this unique industry can truly be the new world of adventure, and provide real value for money holiday experiences.

While the tourist and holiday accommodation industry has always been recognised as one of the significant employers it has never been embraced further than being a regional issue.

Maybe it was because of the territorial jealousy and the traditional habits of Australians to return to the comforts of the seaside retreats.

We at ARAMA know a little better and our industry forebears hounded the airlines as a banded group and established the roots of the ARAMA network, creating domestic and international networks to entice new post World War II generations that unique Australia had a great diversity of holiday destinations, offering affordable holiday breaks for young and old and indeed a great alternative for retirees to remain active and involved.

For the past four decades, Australia has developed its unique management rights industry in traditional holiday centres and this continues to expand and boom in major centres as 21st century Australians recognise that there is an attractive lifestyle in living permanently in new density living accommodation, strategically located in cities and in growing resort lifestyle destinations.

The technology boom has opened the gates of opportunity for the travel and accommodation industry.

And Australia has benefited, as it fits into many of the Northern time zones, and modern technology via digital and global communications it has attracted record numbers of visitors, especially Asian visitors to our shores.

Just as the ARAMA pioneers in the 1960s and 70s attracted waves of Japanese tourists to Queensland’s Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the 21st century waves of Chinese and other Asian visitors, including the Chinese are breaking records for travel to our nation in their airlines and our own Australian based carriers.

The story of new opportunity is not confined to South East Queensland, Cairns, Townsville, the wilderness of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia are all attracting thousands of visitors to our nation and our events industries are booming as festival, concerts and touring shows add millions to our domestic economy.

We at ARAMA have been briefing governments at all levels on how the industry must be further sustained and grown.

We are aware that private enterprise has assessed the economic opportunities and are grasping them. The largest development projects currently taking place in Queensland and other states are private enterprise driven, with the two largest projects in Queensland, the duplication of the Brisbane airport at a cost of $3.6 billion is being funded by the BAC and the new casino/hotel complexes in Brisbane and the Gold Coast are commercially funded.

As ARAMA continues to progress our OneARAMA program across the nation, we want our members in the capitals and regional centres to play their role in the local community, especially with their representatives in local, federal and state governments.

In Queensland, we have 77 new local authorities that are less than two months old. I suggest that our members make sure they seek to meet with the new mayor and his key committee chairpersons to remind them of the economic drive provided by the accommodation and tourist industry- and your business.

By the time you read this column, the federal election will almost be over and new and old members can do with a course of reality in regards to the benefits to their constituencies of our regions. Politicians need to know what our problems are and what we would like to see our new federal government do to enhance the various aspects of your industry.

And while there are new boundaries to be drawn for the Queensland state election, let’s make sure that we have our say in respect to making sure they are in the right place and that sitting members and candidates getting ready for the next state election know all about their local ARAMA members and the accommodation and tourist industry.

While ARAMA meets regularly with members of the government, cabinet ministers in key portfolios and has regular meetings with department heads, it is important for all people in our business to make sure that the message of the nation’s number one industry, diverse as it may be, needs to be recognised and supported so that more Australians can been employed and our whole nation can prosper.

We need to take up this opportunity as the political interest is at its highest at the moment, let’s make sure our message is heard.

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