Hospitality giant Accor has launched an investigation into allegations that one of its hotels was segregating guests based on race.
Last week, the ABC unveiled a number shocking findings from its own investigation into Ibis Styles Alice Springs Oasis, namely that hotel staff were told to direct Aboriginal people from out of town into inferior rooms while charging them the same price as other guests.
At the time the ABC released its findings the hotel’s manager and its owner, Accor, denied racially profiling guests.
However, the group has since changed its tune on the allegations, releasing the following statement to Travel Weekly on Friday afternoon:
“Since Accor was made aware of the matter raised on the ABC at Ibis Styles Alice Springs Oasis, we have initiated an investigation into the allegations and are taking prompt and decisive action on this incident at the highest level.
“We are extremely saddened and disappointed by this, as it completely goes against our values and track record as a company with over 17 years of engagement with our Indigenous community through our leading Indigenous programs.
“Accor has stepped in to use the strength of its Indigenous engagement platform to reiterate the non-negotiable values of our business and specifically undertake cultural training at the hotel immediately.
“Accor prides itself on being an inclusive organisation and has strict anti-discrimination policies and practices in place. It is our number one priority to ensure that we make every hotel employee and guest feel welcome, safe, valued and equal.
“We are confident in the actions to be taken on this matter.
“We are proud of our relationship with our Indigenous community, including our diverse group of Indigenous employees within Accor and the role they play in shaping the Australian tourism industry.”
Accor then issued an updated statement to Travel Weekly on Saturday evening, saying that it had appointed an internal investigator, and that the group will appoint an external investigator to advise on this review.
“At this time, interim management has been appointed to the hotel while we investigate,” Accor’s follow-up statement said.
“We are issuing a formal communication to all employees reiterating our anti-discrimination expectations.
“Local anti-discrimination training next week with every team member at the hotel will reinforce our ongoing expectation to treat others with dignity and respect, and so every guest is made to feel welcome.
“We reinforce our absolute commitment to engaging and supporting the Indigenous community.
“Accor is committed to learning from this serious matter and we will update you as this investigation continues.”