Australia’s hotel and accommodation industry is hopeful that the Albanese Government will take action on important issues such as labour shortages and follow through on its pre-election promises following its landslide victory on Saturday.

Last week, Australia’s Labor Party announced a $48 million tourism and travel package which includes a $10 million injection in training and skills development for the hospitality and accommodation sectors.

Hilton Area Vice President and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton, told HM he was encouraged by the Labor Government’s commitment and said it will be instrumental in the industry’s road to recovery after a tough two years.

“With our current labour shortage crisis as a matter of urgency in gateway cities and regional areas alike, I am optimistic for the future with some of this investment going towards attracting workers and training and upskilling new and existing hospitality workers,” Hutton said.

Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO Trent Fraser said the labour shortage is the number one issue facing the industry currently.

“Many workers left the industry during lockdowns. Many of our casual hotel staff can’t keep up their hours, especially over these colder months when isolation requirements and illness make it difficult to be at work,” Fraser told HM.

“So, I’m really inspired by the promises around marketing strategies to attract workers to the sector and the Quality Tourism Framework, which I think will have a direct impact on our small business operators.”

Fraser’s thoughts were echoed by many others in the industry, including Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) which has worked closely with Shadow Tourism and Sport Minister Senator Don Farrell in recent months.

“We look forward to seeing the new Government quickly introduce its pre-election commitments including $10m in support for employment and training and initiatives to encourage Australians to work in the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors,” TAA CEO Michael Johnson said.

Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry, shared her well wishes for the new government and said Accor is eager to discuss the workforce and recovery challenges faced by the industry.

“Travel and tourism is a major contributor to Australia’s national GDP and an employer of many thousands of people, the Government’s support for our sector is vital to securing Australia’s future prosperity,” Derry told HM.

IHG Hotels and Resorts SVP Managing Director – JAPAC, Leanne Harwood, said she looks forward to engaging with this new leadership on important issues.

“We look forward to working closely with the Government, and across Parliament, as we rebuild from the toughest period in our history and into an exciting new era for our tourism and travel industry and are grateful for the election commitments the new Government has made to help us get there,” Harwood said.

“I’d also like to thank Scott Morrison and the outgoing Government for getting Australia through some unexpectedly challenging years.”

Support for business

Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Richard Munro, said members are looking forward to working with the Albanese Government and support Labor’s election commitments and priorities, especially in relation to the Association’s “The Hub” training platform.

“There are a number of economic challenges ahead and it’s more important than ever that the private sector work closely with Government as part of the solution to accelerate the visitor economy. This is exactly what we intend to do on behalf of our members,” Munro said.

“We also acknowledge the very strong message made by voters and reflected in Prime Minister Albanese’s statements on the importance of advancing and supporting a greater and more balanced role for women and greater diversity including in leadership. We as an organisation support and applaud this.”

Fraser also stressed the importance of rebuilding traveller confidence return and for international travel for meetings and expos to resume.

“These events are great for our metro properties, and I think events will be key in bringing international corporate travellers back to our major cities,” he said.

“Labor’s commitment to recognising the importance of the business events sector by including the sector in international and national visitor data sets, and their commitment to the continuation of the successful Bid Fund program, are key to driving this confidence and bringing new events and business travellers to Australia.”

Marriott International. Area Vice President Australia, NZ + Pacific, Sean Hunt, said: “I look forward to working with the new government on initiatives that will support and take our industry forward.

“There are still a range of issues faced by the industry and we look forward to hearing more from the new Government.”