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

Accommodation Australia’s incoming President, Leanne Harwood, said the merger between the nation’s peak industry bodies continues to edge closer and create something “truly special” for the hotel sector.

Harwood, currently the Accommodation Association (AA) President alongside her role as SVP and Managing Director for JAPAC at IHG Hotels and Resorts, chaired the latest joint meeting this week (Aug 23) with Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), which another step in creating a single united voice for the accommodation industry, something expected in mid-2023.

“Our two Associations are working closer than ever before and we are well on the way to creating something truly special,” she said.

The merger between TAA and AA is edging closer

“The process is understandably slow, but the merger should be finalised by mid-next-year.

“While we remain separate bodies, we are already seeing the benefits of pooling our resources and our talent to get the best results for all our members across Australia,” Harwood said.

Also high on the agenda at the meeting, held at TAA’s Culwulla Chambers in Sydney, was working with the new Federal Government and the development of a combined strategy to combat the industry’s chronic worker shortage. 

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson.

TAA CEO Michael Johnson said the chronic labour shortage in the sector and the housing rental crisis in regional areas impacting those workers were major topics of discussion.  

“The rental shortage in many areas is making what was already a difficult situation even worse,” he said. 

“It is making it hard for hospitality businesses to convince workers to move to country towns across WA, NSW, Victoria and Queensland and it is adding another level of difficulty to the already tough task of finding staff.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management