Leanne Harwood has been elected president of the Australia-based Accommodation Association, becoming the first woman to hold the position in the 54-year history of the organisation. She replaces Julian Clark, who steps down after seven years of service in the role, and who will continue to serve the association as a Council member as part of the transition that will see the amalgamation of the association with Australian Hotels Association’s Tourism Accommodation Australia division (AHA /TAA).
“As I reflect on my tenure as president, I am particularly proud of the Accommodation Association finally agreeing to a historic amalgamation with AHA/TAA after 30 years of false starts. This should improve both our industry’s advocacy and member services immeasurably and delete costly replication. It has only been achieved through the will and leadership on both sides and for that I would like to thank both boards and steering committee members,” Clark said.
Harwood, who took over the position on 20 September 2021, is IHG Hotels & Resorts’ SVP managing director for Japan, Australasia and the Pacific. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and has been part of the Accommodation Association’s National Council for two years, and was a Board Member of Tourism Accommodation Australia for two years prior to that.
“I am proud to be stepping in to the role of President at this time of momentous challenge for the industry and change for the Accommodation Association,” said Harwood. “We are moving into the key stages of the proposed merger with the AHA/TAA and we need to ensure progress continues in the right direction to drive the best outcomes for our members. We also have the ongoing fight for more Government support for our sector to get us through the impact of Covid and we need to make sure that we continue to build the profile of our amazing industry, along with the skills of our people and the workforce needed moving forward.”