Gold Coast Bulletin
THE boss of the Gold Coast’s existing casino and entertainment hub believes the region is on the cusp of a “golden age of tourism” with more hotels a must.
Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier said his company’s long-term $2 billion, seven-tower vision for its Broadbeach island site was backed by expected tourism visitor influxes.
Star is already expanding in southeast Queensland, building a $3b Queen’s Wharf entertainment and accommodation hub in Brisbane and starting a third Broadbeach tower in August.
The Star’s towers
Buyers into the third tower have already signed up for 355 apartments worth $250 million — 84 per cent of the total on offer.
Star’s long-term Broadbeach vision boasts a further four hotel and residential apartment towers.
“I think we are at the beginning of a golden age for tourism,” a bullish Mr Bekier told the Bulletin.
“That golden age for tourism relies on us getting as much hotel capacity as possible.”
Mr Bekier said Chinese visitor numbers were predicted to triple from 1.3 million coming to Australia now as tourists to 3.9m by 2026.
Matt Bekier Pic Tim Marsden
“Where are they going to go, where are they going to stay? If you look at what’s holding Australia back in terms of tourism it’s the capacity and quality of our hotel offering.
“We want to ensure they spend the money in Queensland and stay with us in our properties — for that we need hotels, food and beverage more than anything else,” Mr Bekier said.
Star had commissioned research showing “a lot” of tourist expectations revolved around food, shopping and event experiences.
The Star Gold Coast Masterplan Development
“Here on the Gold coast we are very fortunate we have a fantastic shopping experience right next door (Pacific Fair mall). With every tower we build we can expand and enrich the food offering.
“I expect gaming to continue to expand particularly on the back of tourism traffic but non-gaming will expand much faster.”
Mr Bekier said two years ago in renowned gambling mecca Las Vegas non-gaming revenue hit about 60 per cent, taking over from gaming.
“I would argue Vegas has become one of the most innovative, interesting food places in the world.
The Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier. Picture: Jerad Williams
“Gaming is a fun experience people engage in but we need to offer people a lot more to come here than just gaming.”
Mr Bekier said not only would the Star’s long-term Broadbeach vision create a visitor “landmark”, expansion made economic sense.
“As you get bigger, you get more profitable because of scale. You need fewer security, maintenance staff, higher utilisation of restaurants and bars.”
Last week, Star Gold Coast unveiled a three-year partnership deal with lucrative annual Magic Millions Carnival and Raceday.