Accor Pacific Chief Executive Officer Simon McGrath has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan calling for JobKeeper to be reinstated to save Australia’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Accor operates 35 hotel brands in Australia, including Sofitel, Ibis, Novotel, Mantra, and Mercure. McGrath said business owners are at breaking point, with many not having the means to keep going beyond September.
“Today tourism is in a worse state than it was back in April 2020, and we are calling on the Federal Government to honour their promise and provide continuity of care to get people through to the other side,” McGrath said.
“Jobkeeper must be reinstated for tourism and hospitality to help people and their families, and this must happen within the next two weeks.”
He said that once everyone has had the opportunity to get vaccinated, regardless of percentage levels, Australia should open up.
“Now it is time to set a firm reopening date. Having the courage to commit to a date will give people confidence and unite our country behind a common goal.
“The bickering between state and federal governments on border openings impacts the tourism industry greater than any other industry. We are calling on the federal government to resolve these differences, and to set an opening date to bring an end to the current uncertainty.”
The owner of Rydges Sydney Central, Jerry Schwartz, shut his 310-room Rydges Sydney Central this week. The hotel employs up to 400 staff but had virtually no guests.
“With the rising number of COVID cases we have no idea when people can leave their houses and start travelling again,’’ Schwartz told The Australian.
“Our pockets are pretty empty. We have found the second major shutdown has been much more devastating than the first one.”
Pub baron Arthur Laundy (above) said a lot of hotel owners were also “very, very desperate”.
“Whether it is a JobKeeper, support is going to be essential, if they don’t want a lot of people to go broke,” he said. “In my case 1500-1600 staff have been stood down. They are getting support now.”
But he questioned whether the government support provided was sufficient for them to survive.