Sydney and Melbourne are in for long recoveries, says STR.

The accommodation industry can’t return to normal operations until restrictions are eased and borders are re-opened, was the consensus message reached this week in the latest TAA NSW Market Update and Economic Outlook.

In a webinar hosted by Tourism Accommodation Australia, nearly 200 General Managers and senior hotel management tuned in to hear updates from Adele Labine-Romain of Deloitte Access Economics, Greg Clerk from Hostplus and Matthew Burke of STR Pacific.

The pandemic has forced the industry to embrace new technology, new business practices and a general new way of professional life which will remain long after the virus and the pandemic subsides, said Greg Clerk from Hostplus.

TAA NSW Chief Executive Officer, Michael Johnson, said that while nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future, it was important to hear regular analytical updates from some of the best minds in the business to chart possible ways forward.

Regional hotels were making the most of displaced tourists restricted by border controls.

“We all know the tourism accommodation sector is facing its hardest years in decades,” Johnson said.

“One thing all the industry leaders agreed on was business cannot return to normal until restrictions are eased and borders re-opened.”

Despite the grim outlook, Deloitte Access Economics’ Adele Labine-Romain said consumer confidence was beginning to rebound, particularly in states with eased restrictions.

STR Pacific’s Matthew Burke said the CBD hotel markets of Sydney and Melbourne are facing a very long road to recovery, with international travel, major events and corporate travel all needed to restart before either city can begin to kickstart their respective recoveries.