Accor is experiencing a sustained recovery in its Western Australia hotel, apartments and resorts network.
Continued strength in leisure travel, the resurgence of business travel and an increase in international flights have prompted the rebound of tourism, with optimistic forecasts for the remainder of 2022.
Accor operates 25 properties across the state, employing over 900 people.
While the city hotels encountered a downturn during the two years of pandemic and border closures, the Group’s regional hotels in Western Australia bucked the trend, with their popularity continuing to grow.
Accor’s Perth hotels had recovered to 66 percent occupancy by the end of June 2022, just five percentage points behind the same month in 2019, while the average rate exceeded the pre-pandemic level. It is forecast that Perth hotels could return to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023.
Regional Western Australia attracted even higher average rates and an occupancy level of 65 percent in June 2022. The standout hotel was Pullman Bunker Bay Resort in the Margaret River region, which performed over 29 percent higher in June 2022 compared to June 2019.
The continued strength of Accor properties in regional resort destinations was accompanied by sustained strength in mining areas, and forecasts remained positive for the 2022-23 year.
“Our regional network was relatively well insulated during the pandemic because closed borders created high levels of intrastate demand, and now it is time for our city hotels to rebuild their market base,” said Sarah Derry, CEO of Accor Pacific.
The tourism sector will require government support for tourism generation and the establishment of new markets such as India, as it is unlikely that international markets like China will recover in the short term.
Although Western Australia is outperforming other states in rebuilding global demand, the forecasts indicate that arrivals will still only be 59 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
“We are encouraged by the initiatives of Federal and State governments to address skilled worker shortages by cutting red tape and making it easier for international workers to enter Australia and work for extended periods. AHA WA has estimated that the state has a shortage of some 15,000 positions in the hospitality sector, which has been impacted by the slow recovery of the foreign student sector.”
Addressing the staffing shortage in the tourism and hospitality sector needs to be a key priority for the government at all levels. The WA Government’s announcement of a $3.9 million campaign to train more local hospitality workers comes at an ideal time to address the shortage in the longer term. Meanwhile, an immediate increase in skilled migration addresses the issue in the short term.
“Regional WA will continue to flourish, but as we reopen rooms in Perth, it will be important for the State Government to actively drive growth for its CBD businesses by attracting more major events and conferences to the city. Cities around Australia and the world are seeking major events because of their revenue generating potential, and Perth will need to ensure it has high visibility amongst potential events and conference organisers.”
In conclusion, tourism in Western Australia is set to have a strong future.