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Exclusive: Industry embraces JobKeeper extension security

Australian PM, Scott Morrison has extended JobKeeper by six months to the delight of tourism.

Sentiments across the hotel sector, along with hospitality and tourism at its widest, have been buoyed in the short term with the news the Federal Government will modify, but extend its JobKeeper wage subsidy until March 2021.

The multi-billion dollar scheme has largely stymied a human resources catastrophe across the sector but will be reduced from its current $1,500 per fortnight to $1,200 from October through December and then to $1,000 for the final three months of its life. The reasoning behind the move is the hopeful expectation that Australia has the COVID-19 pandemic under control to the point where state borders can be fully relaxed and consideration can go into reopening Australia to foreign holidaymakers.

Regardless, the hotel industry has responded positively to the news, with strong endorsement of the decision coming from most of Australia’s major accommodation organisations.

Marriott International Area Vice President Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Sean Hunt.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the hotel and travel industries so the ongoing support from the extended JobKeeper scheme will provide a vital lifeline.

“With the situation across Australia changing daily, the government’s decision will reassure many and provide some stability for both the industry and our valued guests. At Marriott we remain confident that our Australian operations will recover over time and we can get through this if we all work together and do our best to follow the advice from health experts.” – Sean Hunt, Area Vice President, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International.

Hilton Vice President of Operations Australasia, Heidi Kunkel.

“Never in Hilton’s 100 year history has the tourism industry been so adversely impacted by a global crisis of this magnitude. The impact that COVID-19 has had on our workforce has been significant so the extension of JobKeeper until March 2021 is to be celebrated as it will help secure the future of our industry!” – Heidi Kunkel, Vice President of Operations, Australasia, Hilton.

IHG’s Managing Director Australasia and Japan, Leanne Harwood.

“We very much welcome today’s announcement by the Government to extend JobKeeper, especially for our industry which has been so dramatically and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. While we are doing everything we can to limit the impact to our teams, with very little business coming into hotels and a long road to recovery ahead, we are grateful for any support we can get to keep dedicated and passionate people employed in hospitality.”Leanne Harwood, Managing Director, Australasia and Japan, IHG.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO Trent Fraser

“The recent announcement on the continuation of JobKeeper (without the specific details at this stage) is a huge positive for the Choice Hotels ownership network in keeping employees connected to their employers and ensuring many of our small business owners are able to continue to trade.

“The government should be complimented on their understanding of the various challenges our industry is facing and would encourage them to consider further initiatives to stimulate travel throughout our region over the next 12 -24 months.” – Trent Fraser, CEO, Choice Hotels Asia-Pac.

Alex Billing and Jason Zvatora from Next Story Group.

“Like many hotel owners and operators, Next Story Group has been navigating unchartered territory with deep concern on how we can sustain our properties and retain our valued team members.

Whilst there is a long and bumpy road ahead, the extension of JobKeeper will undoubtably keep our hotel doors open and staff engaged. Despite the challenged trading, through JobKeeper, we have been able to re-engage 82 team members who are very thankful for being gainfully employed again and it allows them to do what they love which is extending our warm hospitality and welcoming our guests back. We believe that the extension of Job Keeper will allow us to engage more of our team members.

We are remaining resilient throughout this period and we hope to see more support from the government and business partners providing relief in other areas including rent which would certainly help to relieve the financial stress on businesses.”Jason Zvatora, Chief Revenue Officer, Next Story Group.

Quest Apartment Hotels COO, David Mansfield

““Like many tourism and hospitality operators, the Government’s announcement of the JobKeeper extension has come as an enormous relief to Quest Apartment Hotels and its dedicated network of franchisees.

“This support eases some of the pressure our franchisees will continue to face, as they work hard to maintain business viability and keep valued Quest employees in jobs.” – David Mansfield, Chief Operating Officer, Quest Apartment Hotels

Event Hospitality Director of Hotels, Norman Arundel.

“We welcome today’s announcement of the extension of JobKeeper. The travel, tourism and hospitality industries were some of the earliest sectors impacted by Coronavirus and the JobKeeper scheme has been very important in supporting our hotels and our people in recent months – and this ongoing Government support will be vital in the months ahead. With the New Zealand wage subsidy due to end in August, today potentially marks a pivot point between the Australian and New Zealand hotel industries.” – Norman Arundel, Director of Hotels and Resorts, Event Hospitality & Entertainment.

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