The hotel industry is mourning the loss of an industry giant with the death of John Thorpe, AM this morning after a long illness.

Mr Thorpe served two terms as President of AHA NSW – between 1993 and 1995 and again between 1999 and 2008. He was also a former National President of the Association.

He sold his beloved Harbord Beach Hotel early this year after more than 40 years owning and living in the premises – affectionately known as the Harbord Hilton.

Current AHA NSW and National President Scott Leach paid tribute to his predecessor, who he said had changed the face of the hotel sector.

“The hotel industry has today lost a true legend,” Mr Leach said.

“Mr Thorpe was a giant of the industry in every way. A true Aussie character who liked a beer and a punt, John lived and breathed hotels.

“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts go out to Trish and family at this sad time.”

Hotel industry icon Arthur Laundy said his friend of many decades, whom he remembered as a fine athlete in his youth, always had the hotel industry’s interests at heart.

“John did his best for the industry – once he went into the hotel trade he gave it his all,” Mr Laundy said.

“He led our industry through some difficult times and we should all be very grateful for the time he gave for us all. He will be missed.”

Funeral details have not been announced.

Media contact: Jason Bartlett, 0433 954 657