Crown Towers Melbourne

The Australian Hotels Association has rebranded its accommodation division as Tourism Accommodation Australia as part of a major revamp of the organisation.

Australian Hotels Association CEO, Des Crowe, said the new identity representing accommodation hotels separately from the AHA’s pub members.

“We are all about a re-focusing of our efforts to ensure a more targeted response to the complex and rapidly evolving issues facing the accommodation sector,” he said.

“The AHA has long been Australia’s only truly national hotel accommodation representative body.

“But no organisation can afford to rest on its laurels and we have acted in response to member feedback calling for a stronger, more distinct identity for the accommodation sector,” Crowe said.

The AHA has represented hotels since the 1840s and has had its own accommodation division since 1958.

Crowe said the AHA’s recent consultations with its accommodation hotel members revealed a desire to separate accommodation sector issues from the general liquor, gaming, food and entertainment issues being addressed on behalf of pub members.

He said the launch of Tourism Accommodation Australia would provide this dedicated voice at a national level, supported by a strong network of branches in every state and territory.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (Victoria) spokesperson Darryl Washington said: “AHA accommodation division members have demanded that we represent their interests at both a national and state/territory level.

“Currently the AHA has membership entry at the branch level feeding into the national structure.  These state branches are important for developing tourism and event opportunities acknowledging that states and territories are in constant competition in this area,” Washington said.

Carol Giuseppe from Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) added:  “Many of the issues impacting our industry are determined at a state level including tax issues, domestic tourism promotions, health regulations, fire safety, stamp duty, the list goes on.  Tourism Accommodation Australia will continue the necessary work to keep in touch with state politicians and local councillors and the state bureaucrats who advise them and do the implementation.”

A new Tourism Accommodation Australia National Board is set to replace the existing AHA National Accommodation Board and will be based in Sydney with an office in Canberra. Representatives on the board are expected to be heads of hotel chains and accommodation property owners.

Crowe said board would also soon appoint a National Executive Director whose major focus will be on Canberra and national issues.

He also said Tourism Accommodation Australia is committed to supporting the implementation of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy.

“Tourism Accommodation Australia will feed off the energy and focus provided by Minister Ferguson and Minister Sherry and the direction of Tourism Australia while providing these decision makers with the feedback they need to receive from the accommodation sector,” he said.

“Tourism Accommodation Australia will work closely with other industry groups including the National Tourism Alliance, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tourism and Transport Forum, AHA, HMAA and the Restaurant and Caterers Association.

“Tourism accommodation has a critical role to play in shaping Australia’s economic future. In 2011 the Federal Government is calling our industry into account through the National Long Term Tourism Strategy and all industry groups have work to do to keep up with the pace and ensure that tourism and hospitality sectors are taken seriously by Treasury.

“Already in 2011 Federal agencies have been asking for hotel industry input on student visas, minimum wages, skills and labour shortages, award modernisation, business events, and occupational health and safety codes of practice,” he said.