By James Wells in Hobart

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) has hosted the first Australian Hospitalty Conference with over 300 delegates attending the event this week at the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart.

The event has been supported by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and its accommodation division (TAA) with executives from both organisations addressing the event. The AHA AGM and the AHA National Awards have also been held in conjunction with the inaugural event.

According to THA general manager Steve Old, the inaugural Australian Hospitality Conference has followed 11 months of hard work.

“Why are we staging the conference in Tasmania? Hospitality employs 20,000 people or 10.2 per cent of the workforce and is the third largest employer representing half a billion dollars worth of wages,” he said.

Also addressing the conference were representatives from Federal and State Governments including the Hon. Minister for Tourism – Martin Ferguson, Tasmanian Premier – Lara Giddings and the Tasmanian Minister for Tourism – Scott Bacon. [continues below]

Doug May – Trade Relations Manager – Lion, Peter Filipovic – Sales Director – CUB, James Brindley – MD – Lion

Australian Hotels Association (AHA) CEO, Des Crowe, summarised the major achievements of his organisation over the last 12 months in a speech titled ‘State of the Nation’ particularly referencing legislative changes and government lobbying activities.

“In my job you see the duplication of roles across Federal and State Governments. It is my opinion that in the years that I have been working with issues such as licensing and gaming or health and smoking, the best delivery has been at a State level.

They might appear to be well-meaning, but the Federal Government have been intervening in areas that should be the domains of the State and Territory Governments. Canberra is not the appropriate policy headquarters for governing and regulating on alcohol and gaming issues,” Crowe told delegates.

“The Tasmanian government recognises the hospitality industry and the Federal Government recognises the tourism industry. Can the Federal Government allow the states and territories to get on with their businesses?”

Crowe also discussed the impact on the industry of changes to signage and point of sale warnings, surveys on labour shortages, improved training initiatives, expansion of the seasonal worker program, the impact of different menu pricing in relation to surcharges, superannuation changes and provisions, changes to taxes and surcharges, the carbon scheme and the NT Commonwealth Intervention.

Other speakers at the conference included international tourism strategist – Anna Pollock, who discussed creating opportunities from change and uncertainty, Todd Sampson from the ABC’s The Gruen Transfer who reflected on the importance of creativity in the face of fear as well as his contribution to build Earth Hour which now has global participation of one billion people, ABC TV presenter and comedian James O’Loghlin who provided a light-hearted approach to hospitality and Chinese tourism expert – Christopher Zhang who explained how Australia can capitalise on the boom in Chinese visitors to Australia.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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