Are we all in this together?

The three key industry bodies representing you announced on Tuesday they have entered negotiations about a merger. The news follows industry-wide calls for a more cohesive national voice that can pack more of a punch when leading the sector out of this COVID crisis.

While the details are murky, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) are in talks to combine into a single body.

News that negotiations are underway should be welcomed by some of you, our Accom News readers, who have expressed frustration with the consultation process between industry bodies and government in recent months, particularly in Victoria after the entire state-wide accommodation industry was shut down.

Accom News asked the main players whether this potential merger would benefit our industry-makers:

Dean Long confirms that these talks are an important step forward and will ensure members receive the best possible representation in such uncertain times.

Talking about the future, he admits that “although these are devastating times, we will still have an industry after COVID and it is important for accom providers to use this time to plan for the future, to upskill, and most importantly  to stay connected.”

Dean also told me that the feedback from members on the work of (AAoA) throughout this crisis has been extremely positive and he said: “We are seeing this in membership renewals.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) provided us with a copy of the speech given by CEO Michael Johnson at AHICE on Wednesday, talking about the merger. He stated:

By now most of you will have heard negotiations are underway to create one united voice for the accommodation industry nationwide… One strong united voice to push our issues during this vital time…

“The Australian Hotels Association, Tourism Accommodation Australia and Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) are currently in discussions… 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… As these talks continue, always remember, we are out there advocating daily for our industry and we are getting cut through on your behalf…

“While circumstances remain dire… particularly in Victoria, where there is a real need for clear guidance from that State Government to prevent our sector sustaining even more prolonged financial damage… Health comes first, but the Victorian Government needs to consider the harsh economic realities in its decision-making process as large-scale employee redundancies become increasingly prevalent across the hotel industry…

“As we look towards 2021 , history tells us this pandemic will run its course… And when we emerge from this crisis we will be a stronger, more resilient and, hopefully, a more profitable industry…”

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