New wave of investment into tourism

Article by By Jeremy Pierce courtesy of The Chronicle Toowoomba.

THE 2032 Olympics could deliver a new-age renaissance for Queensland tourist attractions stretching the entire coastline, with reef resorts, island getaways and new marinas to dazzle visitors.

From beach bars on the Gold Coast to eco-resorts in Moreton Bay, tourism leaders want to see a new wave of investment to take advantage of our greatest asset – Queensland’s sparkling coastline.

Award-winning tourism researcher Associate Professor Pierre Benckendorff from the University of Queensland said we needed to excel at our strengths to meet the expectations of the millions who would flock to the Sunshine State in the years before and after the Olympics.

“We can’t pretend to be something we’re not,” he said.

“Queensland is known for its beaches, for the Great Barrier Reef, the tropical islands.

“These are icons that we’ve already got, but a lot of the product is looking a bit sad to be honest.

“Places that compete with Queensland like Thailand, Fiji, Bali or even Sri Lanka are now offering really high-end five-star resorts, and I’m not sure we’re doing that.

“Our natural experiences are already world-class, but we have to look at the weakest link, which at the moment is the accommodation and the service experience.” Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is among those advocating for new investment in marinas for the superyacht glitterati who would consider coming to Queensland for the Greatest Show on Earth.

“There’s the opportunity for more marinas, including for the bigger spending larger yachts, with attractive marine surrounds, for example sandy bars, gourmet supplies, jewellery and clothing boutiques, ice cream parlours, cafes and restaurants, like they have overseas,” she said.

“For the Brisbane Games, the end of July and August is the most popular time to be in Europe, and USA holiday parts, including the Caribbean, so potential tourists need to be encouraged to leave Europe, and other nice places in the northern hemisphere, and world class marinas, airport spaces for private jets, and other improved facilities would certainly help attract them.” Leading demographer Bernard Salt said it was the time for “bold, gutsy thinking”, a view backed by Star Entertainment Chairman John O’Neill.

“It’s not the time to be scared of failure,” said Mr O’Neill.“It’s really important to keep the excitement levels up as we move towards Brisbane and beyond.”