Western Australia’s largest hotel group, Accor reported a sustained recovery in its Western Australia hotel, apartments and resorts network. Continued strength in leisure travel, the revival of business travel and an increase in international flights have prompted the resurgence of tourism, with positive forecasts for the remainder of the year.
While the city hotels experienced a downturn during the two years of pandemic and border closures, the Group’s regional hotels in Western Australia bucked the trend, with their popularity continuing to rise.
Accor’s Perth hotels had recovered to 66 percent occupancy by the end of June 2022, just five percentage points behind the corresponding month in 2019, while the average rate exceeded the pre-pandemic level.
It is forecast that Perth hotels could return to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023.
Meanwhile, regional Western Australia attracted even higher average rates and an occupancy level of 65 percent in June 2022.
The standout hotel was Pullman Bunker Bay Resort in the Margaret River region, which performed over 29 percent higher in June 2022 compared to June 2019.
The continued strength of Accor hotels in regional resort destinations was complemented by sustained strength in mining areas, and forecasts remained positive for the 2022-23 year.
Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry said the Group’s regional network was relatively well insulated during the pandemic because closed borders created high levels of intrastate demand.”
However, Ms Derry stated that city hotels to need to rebuild their market base and now is the time for WA to invest in tourism, events and to attract skilled workers to the state.
She said: “The tourism industry will require government support for tourism generation and the establishment of new markets such as India, as it is unlikely that overseas markets like China are going to recover in the short-term.
“It is encouraging to see that Western Australia is outperforming other states in terms of rebuilding international demand, but the forecasts indicate that arrivals will still only be 59 percent (source Tourism Australia) of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
“We are encouraged by the initiatives of Federal and State governments to address skilled worker shortages by cutting red tape and making it easier for international workers to enter Australia and work for extended periods.
The Australian Hotel Association WA (AHA WA) has estimated that the state has a shortage of some 15,000 positions in the hospitality sector and that has been impacted by the slow recovery of the foreign student sector.
“Addressing the skills and employment shortage in the tourism and hospitality sector has to be a key priority for government at all levels,” Ms Derry said.
“We welcome the WA Government’s announcement of a $3.9 million campaign to train more local hospitality workers because while an immediate increase in skilled migration is required in the short term, a ‘grow your own’ strategy is to address the shortage in the longer term.
“Regional WA will continue to flourish, but as we reopen rooms in Perth, it will be important for the State Government to actively drive growth for its CBD businesses through attracting more major events and conferences to the city.
“Cities around Australia and the world are seeking major events because of their revenue-generating potential and Perth will need to ensure it has high visibility amongst potential events and conference organisers.
“We are fortunate that Perth and Western Australia offers such outstanding tourism and economic potential. It is a state of opportunity in every way, but with competition in the sector at its most fierce we are going to require a comprehensive and collaborative response if we are to rebuild the sector fully to pre-pandemic levels.”
“We believe tourism in Western Australia has a strong future.”
Accor operates 25 hotels and resorts across the state, employing more than 900 people.
Since 2019, Accor has opened four new hotels (1,060 rooms) in Western Australia, including Mercure Perth on Hay (2022), Novotel Perth Murray Street (2019), The Adnate Perth – Art Series (2019) and ibis Styles East Perth (2019), creating hundreds of new career opportunities in the state.
Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience.
Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.