FEDERAL Tourism Minister Steve Ciobo says his only concern for the Gold Coast and country with soaring Chinese tourism is accommodating them all.
Chinese tourists are the Coast’s biggest market and grew by 10 per cent to 295,000, for the year to March.
The number of Chinese visiting Australia, currently 1.2 million a year, is forecast to double to 2.4 million within three years.
“We need to make sure we have enough hotel rooms, enough accommodation — across Australia this is a problem,” Mr Ciobo said.
“But we have a really healthy pipeline of investment. On the Gold Coast we are seeing a number of new developments and apartment developments underway.
“All of that will play a critical role in helping support more Chinese and other tourists into the future,” Mr Ciobo said from Beijing where he was meeting 30 of Chinese tourism’s biggest market drivers.
His presentation to the group, many of whom own or run China’s largest travel agencies, was done in front of a giant billboard of the Gold Coast beaches and skyline.
Mr Ciobo, who lives near Budds Beach, said it was a good opportunity to talk about how much he loved living on the Coast and his “highlights”.
“It’s always good to get a local’s voice and have a local talk about how magnificent our restaurants are, our amazing beaches, terrific experiences, shopping — all the things Chinese tourists are looking for when they come.”
Gold Coast Tourism chair Paul Donovan said the city — with all the accommodation development happening — would be in a “better position than anywhere”.
The three-tower Jewel and 89-storey Spirit highrise in Surfers Paradise plus others the length of Gold Coast Highway meant he was not concerned at handling anticipated growth expected from China.
“We’re in the box seat. We are probably better placed than where in the state or country.”
Chinese bed nights in the city were up three per cent in the past year, with a spend of $312 million.
Chinese tourists spent almost $10 billion in Australia for the year to March.
By Ryan Keen
Gold Coast Bulletin