Queensland resorts need to widen their focus: Expert

Queensland leisure resorts that are able to tap into the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) market stand a better chance of weathering the current tough conditions, one expert has said.

In the wake of the collapse of the Couran Cove resort on Stradbroke Island, Jones Lang LaSalle senior vice-president of strategic advisory Julian Whiston says resorts that are reliant on the leisure demand are being more profoundly affected by current spending trends and the strong Australian dollar than those that cater to the MICE market.

“When consumer spending is down, they are the first to feel it,” he says, adding that the strong Aussie dollar has created a two-fold problem for Queensland: overseas tourists are less likely to come to Australia because of expense, and Australians are increasingly holidaying abroad because overseas trips have become more affordable.

Whiston says this assessment would hold broadly for the Australian leisure resort market. However, different markets have different sources of demand.

”Some need leisure more than others. Cities that have benefited from resources are not as dependent on leisure,” Whiston says.

Whiston says city hotels, such as those in the Brisbane CBD, are trading well due to an increase in corporate demand.

“Business events have come back quite strongly in Brisbane since the floods,” Whiston tells Property Observer.

His comments come as Couran Cove liquidators Will Colwell and Tim Michael from Ferrier Hodgson seek a buyer for the collapsed resort.

 Trevor Weinert of Colliers International has been appointed to sell the real-estate assets and rights of the resort.

 Up for sale are 158 strata-titled accommodation units (out of a total of 352 units in the resort). These range from waterfront hotel-style rooms to four-bedroom villas and “eco lodges”.

 The resort is also selling multiple parcels of land with existing development approvals, 14.5 hectares of development land, 2,168 square metres of freehold, three waterfront parcels totalling 5,515 square metres within the Lagoon Lodge precinct and rights to the resort’s facilities and features. These include four food and beverage outlets, conference facilities, a 77-berth marina with an additional 25 jetties, a day spa and an ocean-front surf club. The resort also provides access to 22 kilometres of surf beach.

Third-party unit owners continue to have access and use of their units, as well as ongoing access to “certain resort facilities and be able to privately let their units”.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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