The Sunshine Coast’s tourism economy has the potential to grow strongly if the proposed development of a new Sunshine Coast Airport runway is given the green light, says the region’s tourism body, Ltd (SCDL).
Sunshine Coast Regional Council is proposing to build a new 2450 metres long runway – 650 metres longer than the current airstrip – to ensure the Sunshine Coast can continue to service existing markets as well as developing new tourism opportunities.
CEO of SCDL, Simon Ambrose, today called upon businesses and residents to get behind the proposal because “the whole region will benefit”.
“Tourism will be a key future driver of the region’s economic and employment growth,” said Mr Ambrose. “Expansion of the airport’s capacity and facilities will have the potential to grow tourism significantly and, along with that, create more than 2200 jobs for the region.
“We have already seen the positive impact of being able to attract international services from Auckland, as well as direct domestic flights from major markets such as Sydney and Melbourne, but the potential is even greater if we were able to build a longer runway.
“With prudent investment in infrastructure, there is no reason why we can’t grow direct inbound arrivals from the current figure of 900,000 annually to two million annually by 2030.
“Direct access is a vital competitive for our tourism sector, particularly for high-yielding conference groups and our events sector. However, airlines will increasingly be attracted by the prospect of being able to fly in larger, more cost-effective aircraft, and the longer runway will provide that capability.
“In the past year we have made impressive progress with our tourism industry, and while the market is highly competitive, if we can match our attractions with the appropriate infrastructure, then we have the prospect of continuing that healthy growth trajectory for the longer-term.”
Mr Ambrose said that environmental aspects of the development had been fully reviewed in a bilateral assessment conducted on behalf of the State and Federal governments, and that review had determined that the council’s environmental impact statement had adequately addressed matters outlined in the Terms of Reference for the project.
The public now have the opportunity to comment on the environmental impact statement, with submissions able to be made up till Thursday 13 November.
“I encourage business and community members to get behind the project and have their say on the proposed expansion,” said Mr Ambrose.
Comments on the environmental impact statement can be made online
The environmental impact statement can be viewed online