The Australian Hotels Association is stepping up its leading role in the accommodation sector with a major revamp of its national structure and representation.
The AHA has launched Tourism Accommodation Australia as a new identity representing accommodation hotels separately from the AHA's pub members.
"We are all about a re-focusing of our efforts to ensure a more targeted response to the complex and rapidly evolving issues facing the accommodation sector," said AHA CEO Des Crowe.
The AHA has represented the interests of Australia's hotels since the early 1840's, and has operated a dedicated accommodation hotels division since 1958.
The launch of Tourism Accommodation Australia recognises the need for a clear representative voice for the accommodation sector.
"The AHA has long been Australia's only truly national hotel accommodation representative body," said Mr Crowe.
"But no organisation can afford to rest on its laurels and we have acted in response to member feedback calling for a stronger, more distinct identity for the accommodation sector."
The AHA's recent consultations with its accommodation hotel members revealed a desire to separate accommodation sector issues from the general liquor, gaming, food and entertainment issues being addressed on behalf of pub members. The launch of Tourism Accommodation Australia will provide this dedicated voice at a national level, supported by a strong network of branches in every state and territory.
"AHA accommodation division members have demanded that we represent their interests at both a national and state/territory level.
Currently the AHA has membership entry at the branch level feeding into the national structure. These state branches are important for developing tourism and event opportunities acknowledging that states and territories are in constant competition in this area", said Tourism Accommodation Australia (Victoria) spokesperson Darryl Washington.
Carol Giuseppe from Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) added: "Many of the issues impacting our industry are determined at a state level including tax issues, domestic tourism promotions, health regulations, fire safety, stamp duty, the list goes on.
Tourism Accommodation Australia will continue the necessary work to keep in touch with state politicians and local councillors and the state bureaucrats who advise them and do the implementation."
The Tourism Accommodation Australia National Board will replace the AHA's existing National Accommodation Board and will be based in Sydney with an office in Canberra and will include representatives of heads of hotel chains and accommodation property owners.
The Board of Tourism Accommodation Australia will soon appoint a National Executive Director whose major focus will be on Canberra and national issues. The Executive Director will receive direction from the Board and will work with state and territory branches of Tourism Accommodation Australia.
Mr Crowe said Tourism Accommodation Australia is committed to supporting the implementation of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy.
"Tourism Accommodation Australia will feed off the energy and focus provided by Minister Ferguson and Minister Sherry and the direction of Tourism Australia while providing these decision makers with the feedback they need to receive from the accommodation sector.
Tourism Accommodation Australia will work closely with other industry groups including the National Tourism Alliance, Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Tourism & Transport Forum, AHA, HMAA and the Restaurant and Caterers Association", Mr Crowe said.
"Tourism accommodation has a critical role to play in shaping Australia's economic future.
"In 2011 the Federal Government is calling our industry into account
through the National Long Term Tourism Strategy and all industry groups have work to do to keep up with the pace and ensure that tourism and hospitality sectors are taken seriously by Treasury.
Already in 2011 Federal agencies have been asking for hotel industry input on student visas, minimum wages, skills and labour shortages, award modernisation, business events, and occupational health and safety codes of practice.
"Tourism Accommodation Australia will be meeting in March at the Hotel Hospitality & Design Expo at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre from 14-16 March 2011 to discuss these pressing issues as well as reports from its work on the various National Long Term Tourism Strategy subcommittees, Service Skills Australia and branch sub-committees of workplace relations, OHS, and skills and migration."