Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hotels Demand Corporate Welfare

I was reading an article by Jennie Langley, independent chair of the New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC). The organisation she represents has "close to 100% of large hotel inventory" in New Zealand.

I find it amusing that NZHC are joining the Tourism Industry Association in "lobbying for a national conference and convention centre."

For a trade organisation that purportedly represents the business interests of major hotels that already provide conference and convention facilities, advocating a state funded facility is sadly ironic.

OK, we get the point that those calling for a state funded conference and convention facility surmise that this is allegedly "needed" on a larger scale than what is already provided. However, "build it and they will come" seems to be a simplistic philosophy that ignores the pain of taxpayers subsidising a long term loss generating formica palace.

If a conference and convention facility is feasible, then why can't it be privately funded? We assume that most of the existing facilities already provided (many by NZHC members) are of a type and scale that are appropriate and economically sustainable.

Our tourism and accommodation leaders still seem to be still living in the Nanny State era of the last government. Instead of chasing corporate welfare, the NZHC and other trade associations should be advocating greater legislative freedom on behalf of its members. With all things government - less is more!

If the NZHC wish to continue to look towards government agencies for increased guest night solutions for its members, then perhaps they should be lobbying for a national state funded Disney style theme park instead?

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