A worldwide search is under way for a market partner to deliver a new global tourism hub on the Gold Coast.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the official call for registrations of interest at an event on the Gold Coast on Monday.
The hub has been described as a “game changer” for the coast, with a proposal set to include Las Vegas-style entertainment and convention facilities, events, tourism experiences and attractions.
Plans for a Gold Coast tourism hub have been on the cards for more than six years, with the state government confirming that a second casino licence would be up for grabs in mid-2017.
Southport is rumoured to be the government’s preferred location, while at least ten prime sites are being considered for the project which will include luxury hotels and high-end dining.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said that the government would only green light a proposal that wasn’t solely focused on gaming revenue.
“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,” Jones said.
“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.”
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The government has the support of Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate, who said he’d work with the state government to advise on suitable sites.
“Today is a great day for the Gold Coast,” Tate said.
“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.”
A tourism advisory panel will be set up to advise the government on its procurement process.
The panel will be chaired by Gold Coast businessman John Witheriff, with representatives from the City of Gold Coast, Destination Gold Coast, Gold Coast Airport, local business and community.
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 said.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast Airport has appointed Lendlease to start construction on the $370 upgrade to the airport.