Queensland calls on developers for $1bn global tourism hub

The Queensland government is now calling for expressions of interest from organisations to develop a $1 billion global tourism hub in Cairns.

Prime real estate in Cairns city centre has been allocated for a major global casino along with high-end five and six-star luxury hotels and retail reflecting the significant investment and development into the region’s tourism.

Tourism industry development minister Kate Jones, who recognised jobs as a major component of the $1 billion global tourism hub for residents of the tropical far north, said interested parties now have until August to prepare their proposals.

“The proponents have been provided results of the recent community consultation where more than 600 respondents identified job-creation and a focus on the environment and investment in new tourism opportunities as the priorities,” she said.

Jones said “multiple national and international firms” were expected to enter the Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage, as senior department representatives visit casino hotspots such as Las Vegas and Macau in the coming month to discuss business proposals.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the government had engaged Cairns Regional Council and Ports North to develop the project requirements to ensure the successful integration of the hub within Cairns CBD.

“The State’s preferred site is within the Cityport precinct, near the expanding Convention Centre,” he said.

“Proponents will need to demonstrate how their designs integrate with the port’s management of cargo and cruise ships.

Jones said the focus towards building global tourism hubs ensured the best possible outcome for Queenslanders and prospective tourists.

“In coming years it’s crucial that we work with the private sector to create more tourism attractions to boost Queensland’s visitor market,” she said.

Reef Casino, as the incumbent operator, automatically moves into the EOI phase.

In the first half of next year, the preferred proponent will be announced and transaction documents signed.

Construction is expected to start by mid- to late-2020.

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