Brisbane is riding the crest of a multi-billion dollar infrastructure development wave that will firmly cement the city’s reputation as a key Asia Pacific business events destination.
Brisbane Convention Bureau General Manager Rob Nelson said major investment in new hotels and venues, combined with new retail, dining, leisure and entertainment offerings, would transform the city over the next few years.
“These investments in Brisbane are complemented by a major upgrade to the Brisbane Airport, air route growth and record numbers of international visitors,” Mr Nelson said.
“One of the shining jewels of this new wave of investment is Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, a stunning $3 billion integrated resort development being undertaken by the Destination Brisbane Consortium that will change the face of Brisbane’s western CBD.”
Queensland Managing Director for Consortium partner The Star Entertainment Group, Geoff Hogg, said Queen’s Wharf Brisbane will become the best integrated resort in Australia when it opens in 2022, putting the city on the map as a ‘must see’ global destination.
“Situated along the Brisbane River, it will transform a heritage area of the city, which is largely underutilised, into a world-class and iconic multi-use precinct that will offer locals and visitors alike a truly Brisbane experience,” Mr Hogg said.
“Driven by tourism, our exciting development will raise the city’s global appeal attracting an extra 1.39 million tourists annually who will generate $1.69 billion extra tourism spend per year.”
The development will feature 1100 new hotel rooms, 2000 apartments, 50 new bars and restaurants, a pedestrian bridge to South Bank, a mixture of retail offerings, 12 football fields of public realm space that will accommodate up to 60,000 people, and it will restore and reactivate nine heritage buildings in the precinct.
Mr Nelson said another precinct project would transform the eastern end of the CBD’s waterfront underneath the iconic Story Bridge.
“The Howard Smith Wharves project will see the development of a wonderful entertainment, events and lifestyle precinct that includes an Art Series hotel, conference facilities, chic restaurants and public spaces,” he said.
“These projects will complement the new hotel builds and brands we’ve seen flourish in Brisbane since 2014.”
TRYP, Hotel Jen, Capri by Fraser, Four Points by Sheraton, The New Inchcolm Hotel and Suites, NEXT Hotels, Gambaro, Alpha Mosaic and Alex Perry have added more than 900 rooms to the city in less than two years.
“The new Rydges Fortitude Valley has just welcomed its first guests and ibis Styles is on the verge of opening its doors in the Brisbane CBD – this will be the largest ibis hotel in Australasia,” Mr Nelson said.
“New Mantra, Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, ibis, Emporium and W offerings are under construction and Westin will complete a new build in 2018.”
Mr Nelson said the new accommodation, event and lifestyle infrastructure was being backed by major investment in aviation infrastructure.
“Brisbane Airport Corporation is embarking on Australia’s biggest aviation project – development of a new parallel runway,” he said.
“The massive $1.35 billion project is due for completion in 2020 and will double the airport’s capacity to a level similar to that of Hong Kong and Singapore.
“This is coming at a time when we’re seeing upgraded and new air routes coming into Brisbane.”
Last year, Qantas re-instated direct services between Tokyo and Brisbane and Etihad Airways upgraded its Abu Dhabi-Brisbane route to a direct service.
Air Canada will fly directly between Vancouver and Brisbane from June while China Eastern Airlines will begin a regular Shanghai-Brisbane direct service from November.
“Additionally, the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit will be staged in Brisbane in August and will give us the opportunity to showcase our aviation, tourism and travel credentials to key airline decision-makers from the region.”
Mr Nelson said Brisbane posted record international visitor numbers in 2015, passing the one million mark for the first time with record expenditure of $1.85 billion.
“The year-to-September-2015 International Visitor Survey also revealed China visitors to Brisbane climbed an amazing 28.6 per cent to 170, 000,” he said.
“Domestically, the National Visitor Survey for the same period revealed expenditure by Australian visitors in Brisbane climbed 9.7 per cent to a record $3.5 billion and there was a sharp increase in the number of business visitors, up 26 per cent to 1.3 million.”