BY JAMES WILKINSON
The Accommodation Association of Australia has announced a major coup by recruiting former Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Accommodation Division Chairman Richard Munro as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Munro, who formally starts on July 4, replaces outgoing CEO Lorraine Duffy at the recently re-branded association.
Winner of the coveted General Manager of the Year at the 2009 HM Awards, Munro was most recently the Director of Development for Australia/New Zealand/Pacific at World Hotels. Prior to that, he was General Manager of Star City Hotel and Apartments from 2001 until 2010.
Munro said he was “extremely excited about taking on this critical role”.
“Accommodation businesses – notably in regional Australia – are slowly recovering from the global financial crisis and the downturn in tourism, and I’m looking forward to playing my part in assisting with them to grow again,” he said.
“The ongoing priority for the Association is to ensure that we have a strong and united voice to the Federal Government, as well as State and Territory governments on behalf of our members.”
Accommodation Association of Australia President Garry Crockett said Munro’s extensive experience in the industry made him the ideal candidate for the position.
“Richard is an established industry leader who is well known to key decision-makers and he will be an outstanding advocate for Australia’s accommodation sector,” he said.
“Having worked within the industry for 20 years, Richard has an intimate understanding of the challenges it is facing and how to address them.
“Richard’s grounding in regional Queensland, together with his experience in major hotels – starting out as a food-and-beverage trainee and graduating to senior management – means he is in tune with the needs of the Association’s members at all levels.”
Munro’s appointment has been welcomed by Accor, with the leading hotel chain saying that it would help give the accommodation sector a greater voice in government and industry circles.
“Unifying the accommodation sector and making our opinions and views heard in Government is crucial to the hotel and tourism industry’s future,” said Accor Australia’s Vice President, Simon McGrath.
“Despite improving rates and occupancies in many parts of Australia, our industry faces a number of long-term challenges that require immediate action.
“These include the decline in traditional inbound markets such as japan, the US and Europe, as well as a sharp fall in domestic leisure travel.
“While some of the problems relate to the high Australian dollar, there are more structural issues challenging our industry, and a strong AAA organization is best placed to address them on behalf of all accommodation providers.
“Our discussions with Government have highlighted that they would prefer to deal with one body representing the accommodation industry, and I believe that with this latest appointment that AAA is now well positioned to provide leadership for all accommodation providers across Australia, whether they be hotels, serviced apartments, resorts or motels.”