As the AHA(WA) celebrates 125 years of representing the hotel and hospitality industry, we also enter a new year of technological and economic changes. If one thing has remained consistent in the past 125 years, it’s the AHA’s ability to predict and react to change that affects our members. Disruptive technologies like the sharing economy and online travel agencies are impacting many of our members and we are on the front foot when it comes to representing industry interests in discussions with policy makers. As we always have, the AHA is focused on protecting bricks and mortar hospitality businesses across our state, whether it is from permanent pop-up bars or liquor restrictions in the Pilbara. All of our members are living through the changing economic conditions in our state, and that’s why this March election is crucially important.
Western Australia is at a critical juncture in its economic and social history. The post mining boom has thrown a "super pit" load of challenges for our industry, the state and federal governments and the overall community. How we all tackle and handle these changes over the next three years will continue to define our future and the success of Western Australia as one of the greatest places in the world to live. The AHA(WA) represents an industry that contributes over $6 billion a year to the state economy, with capital assets valued at 10's of billions of dollars, and we have a leadership role to advance our industry and protect your investments.
Diversifying our economy is now more crucial than ever before, and now is the time for investment in tourism and destination marketing for WA. We continue to hear from both the State and Federal governments that growing our tourism industry has become more of a focus, and the AHA(WA) will be focusing and increasing our efforts to put marketing of our state and attracting visitors on the top of the agenda.
AHA(WA) has already commenced working productively on key industry issues with the new Federal Government and in particular new ministers who have moved into portfolios relevant to our industry. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced changes on July 19th, with a significant shuffling of frontbenchers. The Hon Steven Ciobo was appointed to Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, while The Hon Keith Pitt moved into the position of Assistant Minister for the portfolio. Other key players include The Hon Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business and The Hon Alex Hawke, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, who is involved with the proposal to introduce a new tax on temporary working holiday makers, also known as the ‘backpackers tax’.
We should all be encouraged by the number of new hotel developments in Perth. 4000 more rooms are being added to the market over the next few years to coincide with Premier Colin Barnett’s push to attract larger events to the city and increase the number of visitors from Asia. More room capacity in Perth is a sign that there’s confidence WA can continue to expand its tourism industry and attract both interstate and foreign travellers to the city.
Stop The Coward’s Punch
My friend Danny Green is also a friend of the industry and I’m proud that the AHA(WA) is supporting his Coward’s Punch Campaign. The AHA has printed posters and distributed to numerous venues across Perth (see page 5), and if your venue would like to display any posters please be in contact with the office. We don’t condone violence of any kind, but a punch to the head, also known as a one-punch assault or king hit, is the pinnacle of a cowardly act. Coward’s Punches are often fuelled by narcotics and have resulted in deaths and severe injuries across the country. I commend Danny on taking the initiative to push this message for another year, and for backing the campaign using his own resources.
Election – Get Involved
The WA State Election is just a few weeks away and I invite members to keep an eye on both major parties, as well as the minor players, and ask the questions that matter to your business. How can the next Government assist in making business easier for you? Have any of the parties released election promises or policy announcements that boost tourism?
Hospitality Expo 2017
Preparations for Hospitality Expo 2017 are well underway. Hospitality Expo is an invaluable opportunity for business owners to interface with suppliers under one roof and pick up new ideas, products and services that will enhance our businesses. Of course the highlight of every Hospitality Expo is the WA Hospitality Supplier Awards that celebrate and reward the efforts of the businesses and services that we rely on so much. From our food and beverage suppliers to our furniture, security systems and cash management infrastructure, we are reliant on quality goods and services and strong relationships with our suppliers.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the 125th anniversary of the formation of the AHA(WA), known then as the Western Australian Licensed Victuallers. The organisation continues to play an increasingly important role in the hotel and hospitality industry in WA. Without the AHA, businesses would face restricting liquor licencing requirements and higher operating costs. As the peak industry group for hospitality employers, we represent the concerns of industry and advise government through our research, submissions and briefings. The AHA looks forward to representing members’ interests into the future.