Australia’s leading accommodation associations have welcomed the gradual re-opening of the nation’s borders but have warned the ongoing skills shortage will continue to impact operators.

Accommodation Association CEO, Richard Munro, said while the news was good Queensland had opened this week and Western Australia was planning to do so from February 2, 2022, access to labour would be a major challenge.

With job vacancies in the hospitality sector set to top 100,000, and as travel continues to normalise, Munro has warned that the skills shortage in one of Australia’s core economic sectors will continue to make life difficult for the country’s hotels, motels and other accommodation providers.

“With travel already resuming back into Queensland and with the announcement from West Australia of an easing of hard border controls from 12.01am on Saturday February 5 2022, Australia’s Accommodation sector and all the businesses who rely on our members can look forward to more ‘normal’ patterns,” he said.

Accommodation Association CEO, Richard Munro

“We understand that each State and Territory Government have their own frameworks for a safe resumption and ideally we would prefer to see uniformity of policy across the country, but we are also grateful that we are moving closer and closer to an Australia with uniform requirements.

“It’s important to understand, however, that regardless of the approach to State and Territory borders, there is a common core challenge for our sector and that’s the massive skills and workforce shortage that is impacting our sector and will do so for quite some time.

“The Accommodation Association is proud to have a series of innovative platforms and partnerships in place as we seek to address this however it will take time.

“Until then, we ask everyone supporting hotels, motels, and the dining and entertainment venues within them to be respectful and supportive of our teams who are doing the very best they can under very trying circumstances,” Munro said.

WA makes vaccination mandatory
AHA WA CEO, Bradley Woods

The Australian Hotels Association (WA) CEO, Bradley Woods, has welcomed the announcement that WA’s borders will reopen on February 5, 2022, which he said would deliver certainty for the state’s accommodation hotels and hospitality businesses as they plan for recovery and a return to normality in the year ahead.

“WA has been remarkably successful in containing the spread of COVID-19 and our hotels, bars, pubs, taverns and restaurants have played a critical role in this success, but they have also been significantly disrupted,” he said.

“When WA’s border reopens on 5 February we will do so with high levels of vaccination, removing the need for strict measures that disproportionately impact the hospitality industry, such as capacity restrictions and widespread mask wearing requirements.

“Hospitality businesses and the business events sector across the state can now put in place plans for the return of visitors and tourists. Guest and traveller bookings can be made with confidence and the year ahead can be approached with a far greater degree of certainty, which is important for the recovery period ahead.

WA makes vaccination mandatory

“There are sensible obligations on interstate and international travellers regarding their vaccination status, which will allow business and leisure visitation to restart and provide much needed support to accommodation hotels who have been severely disrupted by the pandemic.

 “The reopening of the border will help alleviate the dire labour shortages throughout the hospitality industry, while the meetings, conference and events market will welcome the fact that they can plan for the future with a high degree of confidence.

“We strongly commend the fact that the reopening of WA’s border has not meant the reintroduction of restrictions that disproportionately impact the hospitality industry – this approach will help support tens of thousands of jobs.

“WA’s hotels and hospitality venues are well prepared for the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 into the community – venues have taken their responsibility to the community seriously over the past two years and this vigilance will only increase when the virus does arrive,” Woods said.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management