Struggling Australian hotels would like to see the government increase the cap on the numbers of returning residents being allowed back into the country.
They hope that this would help to increase hotel occupancies, given that many hotels have very few traditional paying guests and would therefore like to participate in the quarantine program.
Hotels are desperate for business
According to Michael Johnson, the Chief Executive of Tourism Accommodation Australia, hotels are “absolutely desperate for more business” and see the program as an opportunity.
However, it would likely be contingent on more travellers being allowed back into the country – and therefore into the hotels – to complete their mandatory 14 days of isolation.
“There has always been this perception that at least quarantine was keeping the hotels full to make up for the loss of tourism. But many hotels in our CBDs are running at under 10% occupancy,” he told Guardian Australia in an interview.
Initially thousands arrived daily
He said that when the government announced mandatory hotel quarantine, the industry “stepped up with very little notice”.
“When quarantine first started we were taking 3 000 arrivals a day in Sydney alone … so the government are aware there’s availability on our end. There are a number of hotels prepared to participate in quarantine.”
Johnson told Guardian Australia that only a “handful” of larger hotels, mostly with more than 500 rooms, were being used for quarantine, but that “all the other hotels are absolutely desperate for business”.
Caps for Aussies travelling home
“Introduced by the government in July and subsequently tightened, the passenger caps affect Australians with valid exemptions returning after brief travel for compassionate reasons,” the newspaper reported.
“But many citizens living overseas who heeded government advice to book return flights, but required several months to finish jobs or sell their homes, are also among those stranded.”
The current caps on arrival numbers are in place until late October, when they may be reviewed.
Sydney is capped at 350 arrivals a day
Sydney airport is capped at 350 international passenger arrivals a day. Perth’s limit is 75, while Brisbane and Adelaide are restricted to 70 each. Melbourne is not accepting any international flights.
According to Executive Traveller, international travellers flying into Sydney pay upwards of $3 000 for their mandatory two-week stay in hotel quarantine. There is an additional charge $1 000 for each extra adult and $500 for each child aged three and over.
“Travellers will be handed the bill when they leave quarantine, with payment due within 30 days, although a hardship scheme will be available to help people facing financial difficulties,” the publication reported at the time the new self-payment rules were introduced in July.
“There’ll be an exception made for travellers who booked their flight before 11.59pm on July 12, regardless of when that flight is, who will not be charged for the hotel quarantine stay.”