Billion-dollar Vegas-style tourism hub for The Goldie

A $1 billion Vegas-style tourism hub will be developed on the Gold Coast, with the Queensland government this week launching a global search for partners to deliver the project.

The hub, described at its launch by premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as a “game changer” for the coast, will involve lavish Las Vegas-style entertainment and convention facilities, tourism experiences and attractions, luxury hotels and high-end dining.

Plans for a Gold Coast tourism hub have been touted since the state government confirming that a second casino licence for the region would be up for grabs in mid-2017, but tourism minister Kate Jones says the government will only approve a development which does not revolve around gaming.

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Southport is rumoured to be the preferred location for the project.

“As global tourism hubs are developing around the world, we are seeing a greater focus on entertainment, high-end retail and convention centre markets, not gaming revenue,” said Ms Jones.

“That’s why today I can announce we will cap the gaming footprint of any new development at five per cent of gross floor area.

“This is similar to the current development of Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane.”

While The Star Entertainment Group argues their approved plans for a $2 billion integrated casino development already constitute a global tourism hub, Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate says the new plan constitutes “a great day” for the Gold Coast.

“We know a global tourism hub will support thousands of new jobs for Gold Coast and has the potential to take tourism to a whole new level,” he said.

A tourism advisory panel overseeing the process of finding a project backer will be chaired by local businessman John Witheriff and include representatives from the City of Gold Coast, Destination Gold Coast, Gold Coast Airport, local businesses and community representatives.

Witheriff said he was committed to making the most of increased investor interest in the Gold Coast.

“I am looking forward to working with all parties including state government and council to ensure that if an integrated resort development was to go ahead that it delivers the best outcome for Gold Coast residents,” he told The Urban Developer.

About Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson is the editor of Accomnews. You can reach her at any time with questions or submissions: [email protected]

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    As a 10 year Gold Coaster my first encounter with the Gold Coast and the three SSS’s (Sun, Surf and Sand) was in early 1970 on a surfing safari to Noosa with 3 mates from Sydney and back and soon after as an newly graduated Army officer a year later based in Brisbane. Then the Gold Coast oozed with development potential given its natural attraction of its pristine beaches and hinterland.

    As a hub it attracted the Australian surfing culture, local tourism and a place where one could retire comfortably in a “paradise” like environment. Over a short period of time, other attractions were developed to garner different demographics, such as the convention market, international tourists especially the Japanese, casino, real estate/lots of hotel-apartments, but the glue that attracted these markets to the GC was the three SSS’s and this is what influences and brings the masses to the Gold Coast.

    No doubt the development of Entertainment/Fun parks started to create that Destination Hub/Image and this latest proposal in the Southport precinct has advantages given its proximity to the Broadwater and Surfers Paradise. However being a residential neighborhood may have its objectors who would be concerned about congestion, overcrowding should a large Casino be included into that luxurious development.

    It is understandable that the Star group after investing heavily in their current Resort/Casino development may soon be faced with another Casino and luxury hotels with numerous poker machines and for them it is understandably a fiscal concern. Turning the Gold Coast into a Las Vegas clone is hopefully not on anyone’s agenda. Nevertheless the luxurious development in Southport will add to the Hub effect and improve the profile of the suburb but with a couple of provisos.

    Firstly, based on the reputation that the Gold Coast is over supplied with poker machines, the suggestion is if a Casino is part of the equation that justifies the end, i.e. the ROI factor, then what would be acceptable is a top end luxury Casino without poker machines.

    Secondly, the roads infrastructure should reflect a minimization of congestion and gridlock and further the enhancing of the Broadwater nature reserves.

    In closing, what is also in question, is the viability of a full blown 2nd Casino on the Gold Coast when Brisbane is planning a second full blown Casino in the Queens Wharf development……….NHI

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