A huge cash injection and a partnership with a leading hotel operator will arrest years of decline at one of Australia’s most iconic tourism properties, Ayers Rock Resort.
The new owner of the resort, the Indigenous Land Corporation (an indigenous-controlled statutory authority that bought the property for $300 million earlier this year) has allocated more than $20 million to an upgrade of rooms and facilities, starting with the flagship Sails in the Desert Hotel.
It has also partnered with the world’s biggest hotel operator, Accor, which will help market the resort within Australia and to key overseas markets such as China.
Accor also brings experience in indigenous employment, which is one of the greatest challenges facing the property. As previously reported in this column, Ayers Rock Resort has never succeeded in securing more than a handful of indigenous employees and has had a dismal retention rate.
The federal government is now investing nearly $5 million in the national indigenous training academy at the Rock, with the plan to create 200 indigenous positions at the resort. The academy will also offer 100 traineeships each year, with graduates to be placed within Accor hotels around Australia.
This article is an excerpt from Jane E. Fraser’s weekly travel column in The Sun Herald, Sydney.