Treasurer encourages investors to buy old resorts

SPRUCING up tired Queensland resorts through overseas investment is one economic strategy the state's treasurer wants to pursue.

Curtis Pitt, who recently returned from an international trade roadshow, told a room of business bigwigs in Brisbane there was a lot of interest overseas in Queensland's tourism offerings.

He said he wanted investors to partner with dated resorts or acquire them while the Australian dollar was low.

Mr Pitt said the low dollar would likely increase international tourists to Queensland and create more domestic tourism as Australians struggled to afford overseas travel.

"Everybody would remember in the 1980s when there was significant investment, particularly from the Japanese investors in tourism resorts and the like," he said.

"While people are still providing some of the best service in the world, some of the architecture is slightly out of date and I think there's always an opportunity with that.

"What I'd be really happy to see is interest in looking at some of those resorts and trying to partner and acquire those.

"Clearly at the lower dollar that's a better investment in terms of acquisition.

"We don't expect the dollar to massively increase in value again so we think there's some stability there."

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief Daniel Gschwind said there had been about $6 billion invested in existing and new accommodation in the past three years - the biggest since the 1980s boom.

He said modest refurbishments teamed with new investments could have a profound impact on a destination, especially with foreshore and public amenity developments along the coast.

"Whether it's a B&B in the Sunshine Coast hinterland or a hotel on the northern beaches of Mackay, we're competing against the rest of the world," he said.

"We have to be better than everyone else at it to ensure people choose us and that requires investment sometimes.

"All the signs are good in tourism - strong growth in domestic and international visitors.

"The investment in refurbishment and new investment has to keep up with that.

"We are in a good space but we have to make sure we grab the opportunities.

"We need the investment, we need the skills and the workforce to match it and we need to make sure the experiences that make us special are accessible."


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