IHG Hotels and Resorts SVP and Managing Director Japan, Australasia and Pacific, Leanne Harwood.

The new industry body representing Australia’s accommodation sector following the amalgamation of Accommodation Association and the Australian Hotel Association’s Tourism Accommodation Australia will be known as Accommodation Australia.

IHG Hotels and Resorts SVP Managing Director – JAPAC, Leanne Harwood, has been named as President of the amalgamated organisation’s Executive Committee, while Marriott International Area Vice President of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Sean Hunt, will be Vice President. Hotelier and TFE Hotels Independent Company Director, Bruce Copland, will take up the position of Treasurer.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Harwood said that she is honoured to lead the new amalgamated industry association “through this recovery period and on to greatness”.

“The amalgamation to create Accommodation Australia brings together two industry leading organisations to form one key strong voice,” Harwood said.

“Now – more than ever – we need one key voice for our industry as we build our hospitality and accommodation category as the place to work and the place to be.”

Harwood said she looks forward to working closely with Sean Hunt to lead the industry.  

“Sean and I have known each other for over 20 years and partnering with him will be a unique experience that is going to bring great benefits to the industry,” she said.  

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to have the opportunity to be the first female nationally to hold the President’s role.

“I hope to inspire the next generation of women to follow in my footsteps and take on that seat as well as pave the way for future females who can truly do anything in this amazing industry.”

Accommodation Australia Vice President, Sean Hunt, said it’s an important time to come together.

“As we rebuild our sector and our workforce and as we shape our future, we need all members actively involved in our ongoing priorities of boosting demand drivers, ensuring a conducive regulatory landscape and attracting and retaining people,” Hunt said.

“We need all members involved so together we achieve the best outcomes.”

Merger on track

The merger process of the two associations is on track to be completed in late 2022, subject to the member vote, with Martin Ferguson AM playing a critical role as Special Counsel.

“While the amalgamation won’t be completed before the end of the year, we continue to work to deliver for members,” said Ferguson.

“Where appropriate, we pool resources and hold joint events however I want our members to know that we continue to be full-steam ahead on the advocacy and initiatives that you need now.”

Both Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association are working closely together with joint Market Update events, by allowing AA members equal access to the recent AHA/TAA negotiated temporary Labour Agreement, by sharing existing resources, and giving members the opportunity to participate in TAA and AHA state-based awards in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.