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Monthly Update
March 2018
Monthly Update

        In this Issue

  • Message from the Chairman, Martin Ferguson
  • Industrial Relations
  • Government & Policy
  • Research & Statistics
  • State Update on Unregulated Accommodation 
  • Industry News     
  • Events                                                                                                                        

Message from the Chair

While the latest ABS figures show that Australian economic growth decelerated in late 2017, key indicators for travel, household spending and business confidence, remained high. As a result we experienced a significant increase in domestic business travel in 2017. Economists forecast that the rebound in the Australian dollar witnessed over the last year – which has seen it climb towards 80 cents against the US – is expected to be temporary as interest rate increases in the US push the USD higher.  Despite the Australian dollar trending higher for most of 2017, and amidst increased global uncertainty, international arrivals to Australia continued to grow strongly, up 6.5% to over 8.8 million – an additional 540,000 on the 2016 count.

Overall conditions are buoyant for the continued growth of the visitor economy. The Federal Government’s ongoing focus on free trade agreements and lowering trade barriers, with the signing of TPP11 today, has sent a positive signal that Australia welcomes international trade and visitation. 

This together with continued improvements in creating a seamless, automated experience for travellers (inclusive online visas, multiple entry visas, rollout of Smart Gates and trials of biometric processing) and efforts by all levels of government to maximise airline capacity and investment, will ensure that growth is sustainable.

In May the 2018-19 budget will be tabled.  Our focus will be around regional investment and international visitor growth.  Last week we welcomed the announcement of the Regional Growth Fund but as this has a broad remit is far reaching we continue to advocate for the maintenance of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Fund (TDDI), which signals the Government’s commitment to the regional visitor economy.  We also remain concerned that funding for Tourism Australia has declined in real terms. China, the United States, India and Indonesia are the source markets that are expected to contribute most significantly to Australia reaching our Tourism 2020 target.  While the hedging agreement protects Tourism Australia from currency exchange fluctuations in these markets, rising international media cost inflation, is impacting our buying power in these growth markets.

Labour and Skills
Access to Labour and Skills continues to be a key priority.  During the past year our advocacy has been focused around the Commonwealth Government’s changes to Australia’s skilled migration programme.  Since May 2017, TAA has made six separate submissions to the Commonwealth Government and had numerous meetings regarding policy settings for Australia’s skilled migration programme, in particular around pathways to permanent migration, ease of access to intra-corporate transfers and ensuring that the two year work experience requirement does not preclude international student graduates from future eligibility for a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa.

The Department of Home Affairs has now advised us that all ICTs of Executives and Senior Managers from WTO countries will have an initial stay of up to four years, even if the occupation is on the STSOL.  While this concession leaves Rooms Division Managers, Food & Beverage Managers and Cooks only eligible for an initial two-year visa, it is a welcome first-step.

However these concessions only benefit hotel chains with access to an ICT programme, and therefore we are continuing to advocate for further changes that can be implemented across the broader accommodation sector.

The ABS economic growth figures released this week, while overall positive for our sector, point to the issue of weak productivity growth. GDP per hour worked, a measure of productivity, actually fell by 0.1% in 2017.

The work the IR & Legal Team did in advocating for flexible part-time employment in the hospitality industry last year, as a result of the Fair Work Commission’s review of the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010, will be important in achieving some level of productivity reform. For the first time since the late 1990’s, flexible part-time employment will be available under a hospitality industry award from 1 January 2018.  Ultimately this will improve the profile of the industry as a career and in time attract more people to the industry.

Unfair Competition
Issues of unfair competition continue to dominate.   Every state is currently involved in working with government to address the issue of unregulated accommodation, whether it is planning considerations at the state level, or taxation and building code issues at the national level. While TAA supports genuine home-sharing, we are opposed to commercial accommodation operators being allowed to continue turning residential properties into year-round quasi-hotels without regulations. This effects ongoing investment and employment in our sector, as well as exacerbating the housing affordability dilemma that governments face. 

The other area that has come to the fore, with the ACCC’s release of its 2018 priorities this month, is online rate parity.  In my discussions with the Commissioner and in meetings with the ACCC SLC unit we have been advised that the Inquiry into Online Travel Agents has been prioritised in 2018. The ACCC will be undertaking a witness management approach to progressing their investigation therefore it will be important that the industry works with the ACCC if we are to achieve an outcome.

In conclusion in the 2018 year we continue to reinforce the importance of the accommodation sector and tourism to Australia’s economic growth.

Martin Ferguson


Industrial Relations

Hospitality Award: Changes to Part-Time and Casual Employment
Further to our advice in December 2017, please find below two fact sheets outlining the changes to the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010 and implications in relation to:

(i)           Overtime rates for casual employees; and

(ii)          Flexible part-time employment arrangements

These changes apply from the first full pay period commencing on or after 1 January 2018. These changes do not affect employees covered by Enterprise Agreements.

For further information or clarification, please contact the Legal and Industrial Affairs team on (02) 8218 1855

Privacy Law Update: Introduction of a Notifiable Data Breaches scheme
On 22 February 2018 amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) came into effect which introduced a Notifiable Data Breach Scheme (NDB) for organisations the Privacy Act requires to take steps to secure certain categories of personal information. This includes, amongst others businesses with an annual turnover of $3 million or more.

The NDB scheme requires organisations to notify the Australian Information Commissioner and individuals whose personal information is involved in a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm. A data breach occurs when personal information held by an organisation is lost or subjected to unauthorized access or disclosure. Examples of a data breach include when: a device containing customers’ personal information is lost or stolen, a database containing personal information is hacked or personal information is mistakenly provided to the wrong person.

Organisations must be prepared to conduct a quick assessment of a suspected data breach to determine whether it is likely to result in serious harm, and as a result require notification, as well as become aware of the processes for notification.

For further information click here or contact the Legal and Industrial Affairs Team on 02 8218 1855.


Government and Policy

2018 ACCC Priorities and inquiry into OTAs

On 20th of February, the Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Mr Rod Sims gave a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) regarding the ACCC’s 2018 Compliance and Enforcement Policy and its 2018 priorities. This speech highlighted the continued importance of the implementation of the Harper Reforms and the role of the newly formed Substantial Lessening of Competition (SLC) unit.

One of the major projects of the SLC unit is the Online Travel Agent inquiry. TAA has met with members of the SLC unit throughout 2017 to provide insights and information into the industry from an accommodation member perspective.  We have also provided introductions to key personnel in the industry to assist ACCC explore the myriad of contracts and behaviours that exist in this space. 

The ACCC has advised TAA that they will be approaching hotels throughout the first half of 2018 and undertaking a witness management approach to progressing their investigation. TAA recommends members work with the ACCC if the industry is to achieve real change. Our key concern is in ensuring that any exploration of this issue is not restricted to OTAs but includes accommodation providers. 

Temporary Skilled Migration Update
TAA has been active in representing the accommodation sector with regards to the Commonwealth Government’s changes to Australia’s skilled migration programme – particularly in regard to the abolition of the 457 visa and the introduction of policy settings to support the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa.  The key concerns of members are:

  1. That occupations on the short-term stream, by only having eligibility for an initial two year visa, will make employment in Australia in the hospitality industry less attractive to temporary skilled migrants.
  2. The increased labour market testing requirements and the additional cost of employing a temporary skilled migrant through mandatory employer contributions to the Skilling Australians Fund becomes a significant impost to hotels.
  3. The two-year work experience requirement for temporary skilled migrants limits pathways to permanent migration for international students and thus makes it harder for hotels to employ international student graduates.

While the positions of General Manager, Financial Controller and Chef are on the MLTSSL and are less affected by the changes, we highlighted to Government that a range of middle management positions on the two-year list will likely become increasingly difficult to fill with temporary skilled foreign workers.

Intra Corporate Transfers (ICTs)
In mid-2017, TAA flagged to Government that one unintended consequence of the new system was the risk that Intra-Corporate Transfers (ICTs) of Senior Managers and Department Heads would be unlikely to relocate to Australia for a period of two years. The Department of Home Affairs has now advised us that the following are eligible for initial stays of up to four years, even if their occupation is on the Short-term Skilled occupation list:

  • All Executive and Senior Manager intra-corporate transferees (ICTs) from WTO countries
  • All Thai: ICTs, Independent Executives, and Chefs
    • Other Thai nationals are eligible for initial stay of up to three years.
  • All ICTs from Singapore
  • All Chinese nationals

A list of the occupations considered to be Executives and Senior Managers is available here.

While this concession leaves Rooms Division Managers, Food & Beverage Managers and Cooks only eligible for an initial two-year visa, it is a welcome first-step. TAA understands that these concessions only benefit hotel chains with access to an ICT programme, and is continuing to advocate for further changes that can be implemented across the broader accommodation sector.

The Department of Home Affairs has also advised that the restriction to one onshore renewal in the short-term stream does not apply to ICTs from Singapore or Thailand, or to Executives and Senior Managers ICTs from ASEAN nations.

International Students
TAA is also continuing discussions with Government to reinforce that the two-year work experience requirement should not preclude international student graduates from future eligibility for a Temporary Skills Shortage Visa.

Yesterday the Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham released the 2017 international education data which showed that there were more than 624,000 international students in Australia in 2017, an increase of 13 per cent (or almost 71,000 students) on 2016. Please click here for a copy of the report.

Delay on implementation of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)
From 2017-18 to 2020-21 an estimated $1.47 billion will be available through the Skilling Australians fund. It is estimated that $1.2 billion of the fund will be paid for via a levy attached to each skilled work visa. With matched funding from states and territories, 300,000 apprentices, trainees and pre-and higher level apprentice commencements are expected to be funded.

The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017 (the bills) were introduced into the House of Representatives on 18 October 2017 by the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.

On 16 November 2017, the Senate referred the provisions of the bill to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 9 February 2018.  The Committee supported the legislation but did reinforce the need for refunds of the SAF levy and the requirement for more clarity around the circumstances that would warrant a refund.

Further delays in the passage of the bill have resulted from Labor’s insistence that the Fund is strongly linked to Labour Marketing Testing and jobs for Australians.  The practical effect of this amendment would be to legislate that any advertisement used for the purposes of demonstrating labour market testing must:

  • be conducted in the four months prior to a nomination of an overseas worker under the temporary skilled visa program;
  • detail the skills and experience needed for the position; and
  • be available to be viewed for at least four weeks by a suitably qualified and experienced audience.

This amendment was agreed to by the Senate on 15 February 2018.  This amended SAF Bill is currently before the Senate, and must now be further debated in the Senate, the week commencing 19 March 2018.  Once the SAF Bills pass the Senate, they will be returned to the House of Representatives for debate before they can be passed by the Parliament. The more stringent Labour Market Testing provisions are likely to remain.

A further delay, separate to the passing of the Bill is that the states are yet to sign the Skilling Australians Fund National Partnership Agreement. States have indicated that the Commonwealth insistence on them not reducing their own investment in VET is one of the barriers and lack of certainty of funding. 

Trial of Contactless SmartGate Technology
In a world-first, from March 2018 four new contactless SmartGates will be trialled at the international arrivals area of Canberra Airport. These SmartGates will use biometric facial scans to identify passengers, rather than physical passport checks and could cut the processing time through Immigration from one minute to fifteen seconds, benefitting the 100,000 international passengers travelling through Canberra Airport every year.

Regional Growth Fund Guidelines Released on 2 March
The Federal Government announced the Regional Growth Fund Program Guidelines on the 2 March.  The Program will fund projects across a range of key economic categories including, but not limited to – transport and communications, tourism, manufacturing and primary industries, with the objective of supporting long term economic growth with flow on benefits to the economy and creating jobs in regions.

Program funding commences in the 2018-19 financial year and ceases on 30 June 2022. Projects must be completed and acquitted by 30 June 2022. Funding must be a minimum of $10 million but the project cost must be at least $20 million (GST exclusive) so other contributors are required to contribute at least 50% cash funding to the project. No cap on maximum amount but the fund total is $272.2 million. Accommodation infrastructure will be accepted as a project but that the project must meet the three merit criteria outlined in the RGF Guidelines. Full guidelines of the grant can be accessed here and on the Department’s website.

Revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal signed on the 8 March
The TPP-11 will help create new Australian jobs across all sectors – agriculture, manufacturing, mining, services – as it creates new opportunities in a free trade area that spans the Americas and Asia.

While particularly strong on removal of tariffs on agricultural products, the TPP-11 will also create new opportunities for services exports.  Australian services exports to TPP-11 markets, worth more than $18 billion in 2016-17, will benefit from a wide range of commitments, which will legally guarantee levels of access, reduce some regulatory risks and improve transparency and predictability in cross-border trade and investment.  Detailed information on the outcomes of the TPP-11 are at www.dfat.gov.au.

Minister Ciobo will sign the TPP-11 Agreement in Santiago, Chile, on 8 March. Following signature, the TPP-11 text and National Interest Analysis will be tabled in Parliament. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will conduct full public enquiries into the Agreement and report back to Parliament.

The trading partnership does not include China or the USA. The 11 nations are Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. The deal also creates Australia’s first free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, giving Australian exporters preferential access to two of the world’s top 20 economies. 

Government appoints new Assistant Minister for Tourism
The Hon. Mark Coulton has been appointed as the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Visitor Visa Update
The Visitor visa program report for the period ending June 2017 has now been published on the Department of Home Affairs website, please click here 

Landmark Western Sydney City Deal
The Turnbull and Berejiklian governments and eight Western Sydney councils on 3 March  announced a landmark Western Sydney City Deal – a co-ordinated plan designed to deliver long-term prosperity for the region.

This deal will deliver for Western Sydney:

  • A North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via Western Sydney Airport
  • A world-class Aerotropolis including Commonwealth-owned land at North Bringelly
  • An Investment Attraction Office to attract investment to the Western Parkland City
  • New planning regime for Western Sydney to cut development costs and boost housing supply
  • A $150m Western Parkland City Liveability Program to deliver community facilities
  • New STEM-focussed education facilities to train skilled workers needed for the Aerotropolis
  • A plan to embed smart digital technology in the Western City

New Work and Holiday arrangements
The Hon Alex Hawke MP, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, has published media releases regarding new Work and Holiday arrangements.

♦ Work and holiday arrangement commences with Austria. please click here  
♦ Work and holiday arrangement commences with the Czech Republic, please click here


Research & Statistics 

TRA releases State of the Industry Report 2016-17
In 2016–17, tourism directly contributed $55.3 billion to Australia’s economy, accounting for 3.2% of national GDP. The GDP growth of 6.1%, while slightly lower than the 7.4% experienced in 2015–16, was the third consecutive year that tourism growth exceeded the national growth, making tourism an economic driver.

Hotels, motels and serviced apartment (HMSA) accommodation accounted for 114.9 million nights, or 19% of total accommodation nights in Australia, with 35% of overnight visitors spending a night in this accommodation type.

In 2016–17, 78% of international nights (23.1 million nights) spent in a HMSA were in a capital city. This was a 21% increase in capital city demand compared to 2006–07. Over the same time period, regional nights in a HMSA declined 2.5% to 6.4 million nights. Please click here for a copy of the report.

Consumer Travel Insights Research from STR
In their inaugural Consumer Travel Insight report, STR examine the crucial role of holiday motivations and planning in the decision-making process of travellers. Their research identifies key factors that influence and appeal to different consumer segments at the start of the visitor journey – the planning and booking stage. Nearly 2,000 panellists from US, UK and Europe were recruited to take part in the research. Respondents were asked to provide feedback on their holidaying behaviour during the Q3 (July to September) 2017 period.

TRA releases report into accessible tourism in Queensland & Victoria
Tourism Research Australia, in partnership with Tourism, Events and Visitor Economy branch of the Victorian Government, and Tourism and Events Queensland, commissioned a study into accessible tourism in Victoria, Queensland and Australia. The research was conducted between April and August 2017. Please click here for the summary report.

Euromonitor releases the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018
Euromonitor has released its annual report on the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2018.

JLL publishes Hotel Investment Outlook 2018
JLL has published a new outlook report, that seeks to provide a global insight into the 2018 hotel and hospitality investment market.

CBRE Q42017 Marketview Report
CBRE has released a Q4 2017 report on Australian Hotel performance.  The report analyses supply and demand across capital cities

Hotel Supply Sydney & Melbourne
Tourism Australia has published a hotel supply map for the first half of 2018 in Sydney and Melbourne.

Tourism WA releases Hotel Pipeline report
Tourism WA has released their latest Hotel Development Pipeline report which outlines performance and hotel stock in 2017.


State Update on Unregulated Accommodation

ACT

Unregulated Accommodation
In the second half of 2017, TAA ACT made a submission to the ACT Government on unregulated accommodation via the Review of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997. TAA ACT has since held meetings with the Chief Minister, Attorney General and the relevant regulatory authorities to reinforce TAA ACT’s concerns and advocate for an appropriate legislative and regulatory response.

Container Deposit Scheme
Public consultation on the proposed Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) has now closed, and the implementation of a CDS is anticipated in the second half of 2018. TAA ACT will continue to liaise with the ACT Government and Exchange for Change to ensure the impact on members of the rollout of the CDS is minimised.

New South Wales

Unregulated Accommodation
TAA NSW made a submission to the NSW Government Options Paper on the 31 October 2017.  Since that time we have had regular meetings with the Department of Planning and the offices of Minister Roberts and Minister Kean to outline our policy position and to update Government on the available data. We have been advised that an announcement is likely to be made in first half of the 2018.

Supply and Demand in Sydney
TAA has commissioned research in the first quarter of 2018 to examine supply and demand in the Sydney market.  The report will review barriers to growth, forecast supply and demand growth to 2030 and provide recommendations to improve the outcomes and lower risk for hotel investors.

Hotel Career Expo
The industry-led Hotel Career Expo will be held at the Sofitel Wentworth on the 7 May. 22 hotels/chains are involved in the Expo which is seeking to educate secondary and tertiary students on career paths and opportunities in the accommodation sector.  Registrations opened on Monday, 5 March with 465 registrations received in the first 3 days.

Northern Territory

Bed Tax
As reported in the NT News (Monday 29 Jan, 2018), Airbnb is arguing that the Government introduce a Tourism Tax or ‘Bed Tax’ for all accommodation providers, as another form of revenue for the NT Government. The AHA NT strongly opposed a bed tax in their Submission to the NT Government’s Revenue Discussion Paper, at the end of February

Unregulated Accommodation
After some delay, a consultant has been engaged by the Department of Tourism and Culture to undertake a Review into Unregulated Accommodation in the NT. Des Crowe (AHA NT CEO) is a Member of this Review’s Steering Committee. The AHA (NT) will be consulting with Members over the coming weeks in preparation for our Submission to this Review.

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Reference Committee
The AHA NT has provided a Submission to this Senate Committee on the ‘operation, regulation, and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional, and remote communities’ seeking a review into all operational charges of both airlines and airports in the NT and other matters.

Sewerage
The NT’s sewerage charges of commercial accommodation operators was another matter the AHA NT had on our Pre-Election Policy Agenda items.  A commitment was received from the Labor Party to undertake a Review into this in April 2016. This is a matter we will be following up with the Gunner Government this year, in order to achieve a more equitable sewerage charge, based on actual usage and not capacity, especially for regional areas who experience low and peak trading periods.

Workforce Development Project
The AHA NT has received NT Government funding for a workforce development project, specifically targeting our industry. We know that there are many aspects to developing the NT’s hospitality workforce, including engaging with school students, more effective training outcomes and job placements, better links between job agencies and business, job support for businesses, and improved skills in industry at mentoring and supervising new and inexperienced staff. 

South Australia

As South Australia prepares for an election on the 17th of March, outlined below are TAA (SA) policy expectations:

Marketing
Significant momentum has been built in recent times off the back of additional marketing funding provided to the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) which has positively impacted visitor numbers and expenditure and in turn the accommodation sector. It is critical that tourism marketing continues to be maintained at current levels to ensure that Adelaide and South Australia continue to position itself as a destination of choice for domestic and international visitors as we strive for our target of an $8bn visitor economy by 2020.

Events
Events, both business and leisure have significant impact on hotel occupancy and the accommodation sector in CBD and regional areas. The state government investment of $57.3 million since 2014 in the event bid fund allocated to bring more events, business and leisure to the state has had phenomenal impact and is critically important to the accommodation sector. The event bid fund must continue to be funded. This is not only critical to the existing hotels and accommodation providers, but also to future private investment in the State.

Infrastructure Grants
Another area of investment the State Government must consider is supporting infrastructure initiatives, through grant funding. TAA SA is advocating that the Tourism Development Support Program (TDSP) fund, decommissioned in 2014 must be reinstituted. This grant funding was critical to ensuring accommodation upgrades, supporting the development of new tourism products and experiences and encouraging the private sector to invest in new and/or existing tourism investment opportunities.

Tasmania

Will Hodgman led Liberal Party won the Tasmanian State Election on Saturday 3rd March
The THA provided a detailed Hospitality industry policy to both major parties and the link following provides you with the Liberal Government policy entitled “Taking Hospitality to the Next Level

The THA looks forward to working with the Government and industry to continue to build a strong and sustainable industry moving forward.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association has rebranded and launched their new website http://www.tha.asn.au/

Western Australia

Liquor Control Amendment Bill 2018
This month, the WA Government introduced the Liquor Control Amendment Bill 2018 into Parliament. This Bill represents the culmination of more than 6 years of advocacy for members interests by two WA Governments (Barnett and now McGowan), to the legislative review of the State’s liquor with the Australian Hotels Association playing a pivotal role in advocating our members and customer’s interests. Our close consultation with government in the lead up to the election was crucial to securing a number of wins. This should be considered in terms of new reforms included in the Bill and measures we have been able to keep out.

Major reforms have directly responded to industry concerns about the undue influence WA police have over licensing matters and the unfair competitive advantage held by large scale temporary beer bars. With changes putting the CEO of Tourism WA on an equal footing to WA Police and Health and able to intervene in support of tourism, cultural arts and community and allowing for new more flexible on-going extended trade permits allowing hotels to hold pop-up events.

Hotel Perth East Coast Tourism Campaign
Perth hotels are the focal point of a new tactical tourism marketing campaign launched by Tourism Minister, Hon Paul Papalia to showcase our capital city to the east coast, as part of a $2 million program to fill hotel rooms. The campaign named “Hotel Perth” has delivered on AHA calls for State Government to match private investment in lifting hotel capacity with a targeted marketing campaign promoting Perth. Accommodation hotels will welcome the central focus on hotels with the door-hanger logo and serviced-based imagery inviting visitors to experience all the vibrant hospitality and natural attractions Perth has to offer. 

The Hotel Perth campaign will run through to the 31st March 2018 in partnership with wholesale distributor Helloworld, for travel through to 31st March 2019. 


Industry News

  • Airline Update

Daily flights from Canberra to Singapore to start in May
Singapore Airlines will commence a direct daily service from Canberra to Singapore on 1 May. The new service will also have a new, modern Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. It will add 40,768 seats a year into the Canberra market further boosting international tourism.

Canberra becomes fifth gateway into Australia for Qatar
The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Canberra commenced on the 12 February. Qatar Airways will operate its daily Canberra service with a Boeing B777 aircraft, which features 42 flatbed seats in Business Class and 316 seats in Economy Class.

Cebu Pacific to launch Manila to Melbourne flights
Budget carrier Cebu Pacific announced it will be launching a direct Manila to Melbourne flight starting on August 14 this year. Cebu Pacific will fly thrice weekly between Manila and Melbourne on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Virgin Australia announces plans to launch flights between Sydney and Hong Kong
Subject to authorisation, Virgin Australia plans to operate daily return services between the two cities with its dual aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft, featuring ‘The Business’, which has been named the world’s best Business Class for two consecutive years.

  • Accommodation Update

ACCC will not oppose Accor’s acquisition of Mantra
The ACCC has today announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Mantra Group Limited (ASX: MTR) (Mantra) by AAPC Limited (Accor).

“The combined Accor-Mantra will still compete with other international and national hotel chains, as well as many independent hotels and accommodation providers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The combined Accor-Mantra will have a large number of properties in some areas, particularly in certain holiday destinations in Queensland. However, in each case and after a detailed review the ACCC has found that there are also sufficient other options nearby for visitors which will provide competition to Accor-Mantra,” Mr Sims said.

Further information is available at www.accc.gov.au.

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Jinshan Investment Group to operate Le Méridien Melbourne.
The move marks the return of the popular Le Méridien to Australia, which formerly had properties in both Melbourne and Sydney.  The 235 room, 12 level hotel will front the Bourke and Spring street tram stop and is expected to open in Quarter 2, 2020.

This Hotel marks the latest announcement in the rollout of Marriott developments across Australia.

  1. Four Points by Sheraton, Sydney Central Park, 297 rooms, August 2018
  2. The Westin Perth, 368 rooms, Q2 2018
  3. The Tasman, A Luxury Collection Hotel, 146 rooms, Q2 2019
  4. Element Melbourne, Richmond, 168 rooms, Q4 2019
  5. W Melbourne, 294 rooms, Q1 2020
  6. The Westin Darwin, 240 rooms, Q2 2020

Crowne Plaza to return to Adelaide in 2020
InterContinental Hotel Group has announced that it will be bringing its Crowne Plaza brand to Adelaide in 2020, opening inside Frome Central Tower One. The 326-room hotel will feature an infinity pool, a bar and restaurant, a gym, and 600sqm of meeting and conference space, as well as a unique check-in experience on the tenth floor.

Playford Council is backing a $300 million hotel in the heart of Elisabeth in Adelaide
The Council has signed a South Australian developer to build the seven-storey $50 million hotel next to Prince George Plaza, near the corner of Philip Hwy and Main North Rd. It will have 260 rooms, a rooftop bar, two restaurants, function rooms, a gym and pool.

Veriu purchases Punthill Apartment Hotel Brand
Punthill Apartment Hotels has been bought by Veriu Hotels and Suites. 
Veriu has bought the Punthill brand and leaseholds on12 Melbourne and one Brisbane property comprising 777 apartments from the Caras family, who started the business 30 years ago.
Veriu Director Alex Thorpe said Veriu is planning to add four new properties – three in Sydney and one in Melbourne – over the next 18 months, bringing its portfolio to 21 hotels.

Bannisters to open Port Stephens property late 2018
Coastal luxury boutique hotel Bannisters is expanding with the opening of Bannisters Port Stephens in late 2018. Occupying the beachfront site of the former Salamander Shores at Soldiers Point, the 4.5-star hotel will feature 80 rooms.

DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin Refurbishment
DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin’s million-dollar upgrade to its 197 guest rooms and conference and events facilities will be completed by 9 April when it will re-welcome guests.

Wyndham brings Ramada brand to Sydney
The 81-room Ibis Styles Lansvale is being rebranded as “Ramada Hotel and Suites Sydney Cabramatta” and will become part of the Wyndham Group on the 12 March as part of a franchise agreement between Wyndham Hotel Group and property owner Z Hotels Pty Ltd.

SeaLink Travel Group (SeaLink) to acquire Kingfisher Bay Resort Group
SeaLink Travel Group has announced that it has acquired the assets and operations of Kingfisher Bay Resort Group (KBRG), located on the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, for $43m.The acquisition includes the two island resorts; Kingfisher Bay Resort and Eurong Beach Resort, Fraser Explorer Tours and the Fraser Island Ferry business operating from Hervey Bay to the Western side of Fraser Island.

FV by Peppers launches in Brisbane
Mantra Group has launched its first FV by Peppers property in Brisbane, opening in the city’s vibrant entertainment precinct Fortitude Valley.The luxury hotel, which consists of 986 one- and two-bedroom rooms, is part of a $600m development of three new-build towers, with its design inspired by New York’s Flatiron Building.


Events

TAA NSW Hotel Career Expo – Monday, 7th May 2018 at Sofitel Wentworth Sydney please click here for more details.
AHA WA Hospitality Expo and Conference (Industry Only Event) – Tuesday, 15 & Wednesday 16 May 2018 please click here for more details.