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The Accommodation Association (AAoA), the peak body, representing over 100,000 tourism accommodation rooms across Australia, believes the $1500 per fortnight wage subsidy announced by the Government yesterday will throw a ‘life-line’ to the beleagured hotel industry.

“This wage subsidy provides essential support for employers as they seek to retain jobs and ensure their businesses are operational once Australia emerges from this pandemic”, said, Dean Long, CEO.

“In particular, we welcome the application to all employees and businesses, irrespective of turnover.  The key criteria is loss of turnover.”

Mr Long said there had already been significant closures of hotels across the country, as the government health measures to contain this pandemic have resulted in the cessation of events, meetings and travel. The restrictions have seen occupancies in many hotels fall below 10%, with negligible forward bookings and revenue downturns of over 50%.

“As a result a number of jobs have already been lost,” said Mr Long. “We therefore strongly welcome the application of this subsidy to those employees who have already left their jobs. This payment provides them with certainty at a time when there is no demand.

“As outlined in our modelling, a wage subsidy will have an immediate impact in ensuring employees are retained in a sector which directly employs 86,100 people.

“The accommodation sector is a major part of the visitor economy, accounting for close to 14% of all tourism employment and contributing $6.74 billion in GVA, the highest contribution of any single sector in the tourism industry.

“As the second largest employer in the tourism industry, employees are the lifeblood of our hotels and we welcome this support which ensures that when the industry rebounds they are available to drive even greater growth.

“Despite the closure of many of these hotels this month, the industry has been selfless in supporting the Association’s request, on behalf of government, to provide rooms for self-isolation across the states and territories.

“The government’s announcement will ensure the tourism accommodation sector is in a position to retain as many employees as possible through this difficult period.”