An economic impact analysis commissioned by the Queensland state government and conducted by PWC has estimated that the development of a Global Tourism Hub in the Far North Queensland city of Cairns could create 2,300 jobs and attract up to 500,000 extra tourists per year.
The figures were announced by Tourism Minister Kate Jones this week, with the planned IR development one of two on the cards for Queensland as part of a strategy to boost visitation to key regional locations. The second of those locations, the Gold Coast, is the cover story subject of the August edition of Inside Asian Gaming.
Speaking to media this week about the Cairns opportunity, Jones said, “New infrastructure that will attract thousands of extra tourists to Tropical North Queensland is crucial when it comes to growing our tourism industry.
“This report draws on the experiences of Singapore, Macau, Melbourne and Perth in their developments attracting additional visitors and increasing visitor night numbers.
“It gives us a genuine indication of what’s on offer as we seek more tourists who are staying longer and spending more money in Cairns.”
A 4.4-hectare area known as the Ports North precinct is the planned development site, with PWC estimating a construction cost of between AU$665 million and AU$815 million. The IR would include a hotel with up to 600 rooms, residential and commercial office space and a casino limited to 5% of total floor space.
The Queensland government recently invited three companies to compete for the Cairns IR license – Hard Rock International, Star Entertainment Group and a joint venture led by the operator of Cairns’ current Reef Casino – with an announcement on the winning bid due by “late 2019 or early 2020.”