Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long

Australians and the Federal Government should recognise the important role hotels have played in ensuring the safety of those returning from overseas during the pandemic, the Accommodation Association has said.

Amid news that the Australian Government will fund the construction of a dedicated 500-bed quarantine hub outside of Melbourne, Accommodation Association CEO Dean Long said many hotels in every state and territory voluntarily stepped up to hand over their properties to use as isolation hubs for returning travellers when the effects of the pandemic became clear early last year.

Many hotels in every state and territory volunteered to help returning Australians with managed isolation.

“Australia and Australians owe a great deal to those hotels and teams who stepped up from Day One in March 2020 to hand over their properties in support of the mandated quarantine program,” Long said.

“Australia’s hotels have continued to support the program sometimes at great brand damage and this support has meant Australians have been able to get back home.”

Since hotels stepped up to provide quarantine facilities, more than 220,000 Australians have been accommodated upon their return to Australia for their two-week mandatory isolation, supported by hotel workers performing their services on the frontline.

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney has been acting as a quarantine hotel for the Australian Government since April 2019.

“The proposed purpose-built quarantine hub will provide a solution for those returning from high COVID-risk environments, but the reality is that we will still need hotels to play a role given the volume of travellers involved,” Long added.

“Government and community recognition of the significant contribution that our hotels and our people have made during COVID is important.”