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Mayor should stick to the facts and start the conversation

May 9, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Auckland’s Mayor should stick to the facts and start working with the accommodation sector, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

In Saturday’s NZ Herald, in justifying his revised targeted rate proposal, Mayor Phil Goff accused hotels of exploiting participants in the World Masters Games.

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says the aggressive approach being adopted by the Mayor to anyone who disagrees with him is unhelpful – and his accusations are untrue.

Chris Roberts

“The Mayor continues to make wild claims that are not based on the facts.”

TIA member hotels in Auckland had an average occupancy rate in April of 88%, identical to the same month a year ago.

Auckland hotel occupancy and room rates in April both declined from the previous month. In March 2017, the occupancy level was 94% with an average room rate of $232. In April 2017, the occupancy level was 88% and the average room rate fell to $207.

“In other words, hotels made better returns in March, before the Games, than they did in April with the Games.”

Mr Roberts says the World Masters Games was a great event for Auckland and for New Zealand. However, visiting participants stayed in a range of accommodation, including hotels, motels, Airbnb and private homes.

“I was a Games participant myself. Everyone I spoke to in my event – both the Kiwis and the overseas athletes – were staying with friends or family.

“For hotels, the additional visitors for the World Masters Games were offset by a decline in other visitors, so it was a ‘steady as she goes’ month.”

Mayor Goff continues to insist that hotels should be targeted for a huge rates rise because they “best represent the visitor component”. Again, this ignores the facts, Mr Roberts says.

“We know that only 16% of the annual visitors to Auckland stay in hotels and only 26% in some form of commercial accommodation.

“If the Mayor’s aim is to tax every visitor to Auckland, he is missing three-quarters of them with this rates proposal.”

Mr Roberts says it is time to get around the table and negotiate a fair outcome.

“As we have repeated over and over, commercial accommodation providers receive just 9% of the total visitor spend in the Auckland region. A contribution to ATEED that recognises this ratio would be the ‘fair share’ that the Mayor talks so much about.

“It is entirely possible to design a sustainable funding model for the long term benefit of Auckland through consultation and engagement.

“The revised targeted rate proposal is an illogical mess – the Council must reject it and start again, by actually talking to the industry”.

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