What a week it has been!

On Tuesday night I had the amazing opportunity to join Harry Triguboff to officially open Meriton Suites Sussex Street, the newest offering in the collection of luxury apartment-style hotel accommodation which is opening across the country.

The unveiling showcased fab hotel views, beautiful suites, gourmet kitchens, designer bathrooms and five-star services. I walked away from the event delighted that such a gorgeous venue had been added to our accommodation stock.

However, that feeling of delight didn’t stay for long upon hearing the news that ‘the powers that be’ have decided to knock back the Star’s Ritz Carlton development. The $500 million hotel and residential tower project, which has been in planning since 2015.

What a blow to the visitor economy.

But wait there’s more!

I then pick up my next newspaper to see that the NSW Treasurer wants a dedicated Minister for Sydney to “talk up our city”??

“When Sydney goes well, regional NSW goes well and Australia goes well,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Everyone in NSW and Australia are shareholders in Sydney’s success. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk up Sydney – we have an obligation to invest in it as Australia’s only truly global city and our nation’s gateway to the world.”

Could not agree more and actually a great idea, but there is no use having a person in charge of promoting Sydney unless we have somewhere for our visitors to stay.

In September 2018, TTF outlined to the NSW Planning and Environment Department, our strong support of the Star’s Ritz Carlton development proceeding.

The project would deliver 220 hotel rooms, residential options, 15 additional food and beverage outlets, a signature restaurant, multiple gymnasiums and a neighborhood centre.

The multi-million dollar investment would boost the local economy and create jobs, providing for around 1000 construction roles over the development stage and an additional 500 ongoing jobs, once fully operational.

Recently TRA released the latest International visitors survey results.

Australia saw a continuation of record numbers of international visitor arrivals and spend during the year ending March 2019. Visitor arrivals aged 15 years and over increased by 3% to reach 8.5 million, while spend increased by 5% to $44.3 billion. This increase in international visitors requires a range of accommodation options and at multiple price points.

It is important that Australia, and its tourism gateway city of Sydney, maintains a strong pipeline of investment in hotels to meet this growing demand to ensure the tourism industry can maintain balanced and sustainable occupancy rates and offer market choice.

Importantly the bad news for this development combined with the recent cuts to the Destination NSW Budget send all the wrong messages to potential investors and visitors.

The wider West Harbour precinct with the nearby Sydney Fish Market redevelopment, International Convention Centre and the Australian National Maritime Museum with the gorgeous new Sofitel at Darling Harbour, is going to be a major tourist hub and will need additional accommodation to meet demand.

What’s the point of telling people to come here if in future with a wealth of new stadiums and facilities, if we can’t give them a bed?

Now is the time for action, industry and government need to get back on the same page that spells out the importance of the visitor economy.