Did you know that the “Commercial Leasing Regulations” introduced early last year to help our industry when COVID-19 hit, expired at the end of 2020? The impact is huge for many but has been widely overlooked.
This week, long stay accom group APX Hotels and Apartments (properties APX World Square, APX Darling Harbour and APX Parramatta) contacted Accom News regarding their urgent appeal for the industry to unite and demand targeted government strategies to ensure the survival of many accom and tourism businesses.
In a call for support, the APX Hotels and Apartments statement said:
The Australian travel and tourism industry is continuing to face unprecedented and crippling economic devastation despite being the single worst affected industry during the Covid-19 pandemic by being left out of any ongoing government strategy created specifically to aid in its survival.
“In response to the pandemic the Federal Government introduced the National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct for Commercial tenancies in early April 2020 which was quicky adopted by the respective states the very same month. To implement the Code of Conduct (“the Code”), the NSW Government enacted the Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2020, on 24 April 2020.
“This regulation essentially reduced the single highest financial burden of the business which is its rent. To qualify for the rental reduction from this regulation the business needed to qualify for Job Keeper which continues at this stage until the end of March 2021.
“This regulation, however, expired on December 31, 2020 even though Australia is very much in the midst of the pandemic, with all state borders currently closed. Globally Covid-19 cases are increasing, not decreasing with no end in sight despite the vaccine roll out in most other countries. This has caused severe hardship to most in our industries and more so for hotels in the metropolitan cities. Tourist destinations have continued to fare better as they get a lot of local tourism from the big cities; however, the cities are practically void of any tourism activity at present. There are hardly any major events, corporate travel is non-existent as is international travel and hotel occupancies are currently the same as it was at the height of the pandemic.
“Despite this, the main factor that has influenced the survival of many hotel and travel businesses which was the Commercial Leasing Regulation, has now expired for all industries except the retail industry. Incidentally, Retail has had its best months during November and December last year exceeding pre-COVID-19 revenue levels however their rental assistance has been carried through until the end of March 2021.
“The travel and tourism industry are one of the pinnacle industries of Australia and Australian destinations are iconic attractions to the rest of the world. Despite its significance it seems the Australian government, both federal and state, have seemingly overlooked the importance of keeping this industry alive with targeted measures to aid in its survival.”