Accor Urges Investment in Events to Fast-track Tourism Recovery

Leading hotel giant Accor has called for investments in events to speed up tourism revival.

According to Sarah Derry, Chief Executive Officer, Accor Pacific, CBD hotel performances have been encouraging during events such as the 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.”

The return of packed crowds at AFL has also been encouraging, and festivals and events attract leisure travellers.

With the Victorian Government’s signing of the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and the 114th International Rotary Convention, the state can expect to attract over 20,000 visitors next year. 

The Victorian State Government has successfully driven demand with stimulus packages, such as the Victorian voucher travel scheme. According to Derry, Accor believes that the travel scheme made a material positive impact over the Easter period.

“Another successful measure is the Midweek Melbourne Money initiative supporting bars and restaurants. More than 300,000 claims have been made since the program began on 7 March 2022. This helps to build vibrancy in the city that attracts hotel guests.”

Although corporate and business meetings are slowly resuming, there is a long way to go on the road to recovery. Therefore, investments in sports, art and cultural events are critical to creating jobs and supporting local businesses.

The majority of city hospitality and tourism operators are still suffering from the impact of the pandemic. Covid has created several issues for the industry, especially the ability to attract new individuals seeking a career in hospitality.

“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.”

Tourism is one of Australia’s largest drivers of economic growth, with domestic and international tourism expenditure totalling $122 billion in the financial year before the pandemic. The country yielded $60.8 billion in direct tourism gross domestic product that same year.

“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."

“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.”