Hotel owners in New Zealand are joining forces to lobby for their commercial interests.
Hotel owners in New Zealand are joining forces to lobby for their commercial interests.

Owners of New Zealand hotels have banded together to form a new association aimed at lobbying local and central government on behalf of their industry and the interests of commercial real estate designated as hotels.

Announced at last week’s New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference (NZHIC), the New Zealand Hotel Owners Association has been formed with an interim board of directors in place until a broader group of hotel owners can be canvassed, their views obtained and a more robust, democratic election process and governance structure be implemented.

The association has received multiple commitments from existing owners to provide operational funds until a permanent funding process is put in place. A search is currently underway to recruit an Executive Director, based in Wellington, to drive the organisation’s agenda.

Acting as Interim Chair of the New Zealand Hotels Association is Lani Hagaman from the Scenic Hotel Group, who said the organisation comes as a result of recent attempts by local councils in New Zealand to impose “various hotel bed taxes to fund local investment and related costs”.

She said it was incorrect to presume that hotel guests would solely bear the brunt of all new fees and taxes imposed by governments and that international studies have shown hotel owners will suffer significantly.

“While hotel owners support investigating funding options and are prepared to contribute to the solution, it is simply unfair to have them solely shoulder the burden.”

Hagaman added that the organisation was committed to working alongside Tourism Industry Aotearoa on common issues but that more specific issues directly affecting hotel owners spurred the need to form the Hotel Owners Association.

“Everyone is in agreement that we urgently need more hotels and as one of the largest economic drivers to the economy, it makes no sense to disincentive [sic] investment in this manner,” Hagaman said.