The AHLA’s new Board of Directors came together in early June to discuss the challenges facing Alberta hotels and how the association should respond. Based on the current state of the industry, the Board has identified the following advocacy priorities for 2020-21:
1. Advocating for further liquidity measures to support Alberta hotels.
2. Extension of temporary layoff measures. As the 120-day deadline for temporary layoffs looms, many hotels are just starting to bring back laid off employees. As a result of current business levels, most hotels will not be back to full staffing levels for many months. Many hotels will face significant costs for termination pay if they are unable to bring back staff because of record low business levels. The AHLA is actively exploring options to address this issue for our members.
A reminder that the Government of Alberta extended the eligibility of 120-day temporary layoffs to employees who were laid off prior to March 17 as a result of COVID-19. The start date of the 120-day layoff period is the original layoff date, and does not reset to March 17.
3. Identifying alternative uses for hotels, such as affordable housing or continuing care facilities.
4. Repealing and replacing the Tourism Levy to ensure that the full amount is invested in growing tourism to our province.
5. Ensuring that Destination Marketing Fees (DMFs) remain voluntary and driven by Alberta’s hotel industry.
Board Chair Chris Barr shared why the board selected these priorities: “Our industry has been heavily damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many businesses are struggling to reopen, the AHLA has identified these advocacy priorities to support our industry not only now, but also into the future. All our members are at various stages of recovery and we will continue to advocate for them to assist with issues that are hindering their recovery process.”