A former journalist and PR expert has been appointed head of the NZ Hotel Owners Association, the body leading accom’s charge against bed taxes and targeted rates.
Amy Robens will take the reins as executive director, bringing to the role 20 years’ experience working with multinational and Kiwi companies, start-ups and not-for-profit organisations across a range of industries.
She has worked in public and private roles at home and abroad for organisations such as Economic Development New Zealand, Tourism Victoria, First Travel Group and Disneyland Paris.
The NZHOA, which boasts Scenic Hotel Group, Heritage Hotels, Event Hospitality, C.P Group and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels among its founding members,.was incorporated in August but held its official launch two weeks ago.
At the time, chair Lani Hagaman put bed tax advocates on notice with the words: “We are not the low-lying fruit and we will no longer be an easy target to obtain money from.
“We are strongly opposed to the introduction of bed taxes and targeted rates, and we will continue to oppose any and all proposals that treat our businesses as ATMs.
“We are not against hotel owners paying their fair share of the cost of infrastructure growth. The fact is we already are paying, with tourism taxed more heavily than any other export industry.”
While the NZHOA was galvanised into being by the industry’s opposition to bed tax proposals, it aims to work with sector partners and governments on a range of issues from environmental policy to immigration and targeted marketing.
Robens says she will “relish” the challenge of the role as executive director.
“Hotel owners have been at the forefront of establishing tourism opportunities in areas well before they became tourist hotspots, and they continue to reinvest to support not just international and domestic visitors, but also a range of New Zealand businesses,” she said.
“They play a significant role in the wellbeing of our economy and I’m really looking forward to working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to represent hotel owners across public policy areas from tourism to general business and environmental issues.”
Hagaman says the organisation has been working with Robens during its set-up phase and is confident she “has the energy, insights and skill set” to drive it forward.
“She will be a tireless advocate for our cause and we are delighted to have her on board,” she said.