Accor calls for investment in events to fast-track tourism revival

Accor CEO Sarah Derry.

Accor has called for further investment in events as hotel occupancy in the CBD slowly returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Accor’s Victorian hotels recorded an average occupancy of 60 per cent from January to the end of April 2022, with some hotels in regional areas such as Geelong and Daylesford performing ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

In contrast, the slow return of workers to the Melbourne CBD has constrained occupancies in most city hotels.

Accor Pacific CEO Sarah Derry said that CBD hotel performances during events such as the Melbourne Grand Prix and Melbourne Comedy Festival had been encouraging.

“When cities host major events such as the Grand Prix, we experience a significant surge in bookings,” she said.

“The Grand Prix is one of the world’s premier sports entertainment events, presenting Melbourne, Australia, and the Pacific in general, as highly inspiring and desirable destinations to the rest of the world.

“The return of full crowds at AFL has also been encouraging, and festivals and events are attracting leisure travellers to city hotels.

“The Victorian Government deserves congratulations for signing the Commonwealth Games in 2026, and the 114th International Rotary Convention next year is expected to attract over 20,000 visitors.”

Derry said that corporate and business meetings are slowly resuming, but there is a long way to go.

The Novotel Geelong

“It is critical that investment in sports, arts and cultural events continues, as it creates jobs and supports local businesses,” she said.

Accor added five new additions to its Victorian network in 2021 and will add the 275-room Mercure Melbourne South Bank to its collection in the second half of 2022.

In the pipeline, Accor also has plans to add new-build hotels in Richmond, Hawthorn, Malvern and Latrobe, along with Novotel and ibis Styles hotels at Melbourne Airport, 25hours Melbourne and SO/ Melbourne.

“Between 2021 and 2025, we are opening fourteen hotels in Victoria, which is an investment of over $700 million by a variety of owners,” said Derry.

“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.”