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Industry superheroes launch Tourism Taskforce to speed up recovery

The newly formed Tourism Restart Taskforce is a creation of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in an attempt to co-ordinate and strengthen the industry response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Comprised of leaders and experts from across the sector the taskforce promises to be central to its recovery.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) Chair Martin Ferguson AM welcomed the opportunity to take a seat at the Taskforce table, representing the accommodation sector alongside other tourism industry leaders attempting to rebuild Australia’s decimated tourism sector.

Mr Ferguson said: “TAA will be able to provide strong, experienced representation for Australia’s accommodation industry during what will inevitably be a long road to recovery.

“Australia’s hotels have been heavily impacted for almost six months by both the summer bushfires and the coronavirus outbreak, yet during this time they have played a leadership role in the community, despite incurring heavy financial losses.

“From providing crisis accommodation to offering lodging for returning Australians requiring COVID-19 isolation, Australia’s hotels will play a leading role in the recovery of our tourism sector in the same way they have during the crisis.

“TAA is able to provide strong advocacy on behalf of Australia’s accommodation industry, which continues to navigate the most challenging period on record.”

Peak industry body representing Australia’s $44 billion tourism export sector the Australian Tourism Export Council will be represented on the Taskforce by ATEC Chair, Denis Pierce and ATEC board member Jacqui Walshe.

“Our tourism and hospitality industry has had a knockout blow causing widespread damage to hundreds of thousands of businesses and livelihoods across the nation,” Mr Pierce said.

“This forum provides a vehicle to move our industry through this troubled period as a united voice.”

TAA CEO Michael Johnson agreed, he said the accommodation industry will be central to the recovery of Australia’s tourism sector, but the nature of COVID-19 means the road to recovery will be a long one.

“Until we see a sustained and comprehensive containment of the virus across the world we can expect international travel to be very limited, which will present a long-term challenge to the tourism industry,” Mr Johnson said.

“There are definite opportunities to grow Australia’s domestic tourism and TAA is proud to be the leading advocate for Australia’s accommodation hotels as we look to explore short and medium term options to get our tourism industry back on its feet.

“As the only authoritative voice for Australia’s hotel sector, TAA looks forward to working with ACCI and other leading tourism bodies to ensure we put in place measures which will stimulate our tourism industry and in doing so, safeguard the many thousands of jobs who rely on it.” 

Taskforce members:

Jeremy Johnson ACCI Board, former CEO Sovereign Hill (Chair)

Martin Ferguson, Tourism Accommodation Australia

Bob East, Tourism Australia

Sarina Bratton, Ponant, CLIA

Nikki Govan, Star of Greece, Business SA

Graham (Skroo) Turner,  Flight Centre, AFTA

Bruce Baird, Business Events Sydney, TTF

Geoff Donaghy,  CEO, ICC Sydney

John Hart, Australian Chamber – Tourism

The Taskforce will feed into the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and the Austrade Tourism Incident Response Coordination group.  Through ACCI it will feed into the Business Liaison Group in Treasury and the Department of Industry recovery group.

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One Comment

  1. Laughable. Why is there no representation afforded to the consumer – yes, that’s right, the paying public who hand over their hard earned to travel? Without US, there is no travel industry! Outrageous that the CEO of Flight Centre is on this Taskforce. His Company has done everything in its power to screw its customers by delaying refunds to its customers etc etc etc.

    The Travel Industry as we once knew it is stuffed. Consumers now know a damn lot more about Consumer Law. The behaviour of the major Travel Agents during Covid-19 is reprehensible.

    Regulatory change is needed to restore the confidence of the consumer. Until a safety net is established to protect consumers from unscrupulous Agents, recovery from the doldrums we are now in will be nigh on impossible. The Government and the ACCC have been piss weak in looking after US, the consumers. The ‘industry’ needs to work with us to achieve mutually rewarding outcomes. Stop screwing US over!

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