Sarah Derry, Chief Executive Officer, Accor Pacific is calling for government to invest in events to revive tourism and local economies, citing encouraging CBD hotel performances during events such as Formula 1 racing and Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“When cities host major events such as the Grand Prix, we experience a significant surge in bookings. The Grand Prix is one of the world’s premier sports entertainment events, presenting Melbourne, Australia, and the Pacific, as highly inspiring and desirable destinations to the rest of the world.” She said.
Derry says that although Corporate and business meetings are slowly returning, there is a long way to go. “It is critical that investment in sports, arts and cultural events continues, as it creates jobs and supports local businesses,” she said.
City hospitality and tourism operators are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic, notably the difficulty in promoting the sector as an attractive career choice. “We employ over 2,100 workers in Victoria, but we are still trying to recruit for 160 positions that remain vacant,” said Derry.
“From an immediate point of view, we need a return of skilled and unskilled workers and a rapid boost in international students. The tourism and hospitality industry is dynamic and rewarding. To attract talent back, we need people to be confident that it is a sustainable career path that provides the opportunity for incredible career development that opens doors worldwide.”
“The investment of local and international businesses into upgrading existing and building new hotels has been unprecedented over the past five years. Melbourne now has international quality hotels in both the city centre and, increasingly, in major suburban are regional areas, which have been vital for the sustainability of local communities.”
“Between 2021 and 2025, we are opening fourteen hotels in Victoria, which is an investment of over $700 million by a variety of owners,” said Derry.
“These investments require active and positive government support at all levels. Our industry continues to face major challenges and is a long way from returning to pre-Covid levels.”