A falling Australian dollar and growing appetite from Chinese investors has triggered a round of upgrades to Queensland’s tourism assets with Shanghai-based China Capital Investment Group the latest to plan an overhaul of its newly purchased Daydream Island.
The group purchased the Whitsundays island with vacant possession from former vitamin entrepreneur Vaughan Bullivantfor about $30 million. It represents the group’s first investment in Australia.
Chairman of CCIG Chuanyou Zhou confirmed plans to expand the resort.
“We look forward to improving the property and providing both domestic and international guests with a continued high level of quality service and enhancing their holiday experience.”
DaydreamIsland Resort and Spa chief executive officer Scott Wilkinson said the new owner would continue to develop the tourism experience for guests.
While this is the first major purchase by a Chinese group since the Australian dollar fell below US90¢ there have been several investments in tourism assets along the coast by Chinese groups. Airlie Beach, which is the main gateway to the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, saw the China-Australia Entrepreneurs Association obtain a development lease last year for a $300 million retail and resort development. Other Chinese operators include advertising and media group White Horse which purchased Lindeman Island for about $12 million and plan to rejuvenate that asset.
Capricorn Tourism chief executive Mary Carroll said it was crucial to have such investment in the islands and that the state’s new Labor government should encourage it.
“Island destinations like Daydream have unfortunately struggled with the lack of product development,” Ms Carroll said,”Island resorts cost about three times more to operate than the mainland ones because basic amenities cost so much more plus there is the tyranny of distance so to immediately make a profit is more challenging.”
She urged a new state government to co-operate with developers’ plans for tourism assets.
“Some announcements are beyond the control of developers – it will be interesting to see what happens under a new Labor government.”
“There is no doubt that interest from China is possibly better than it has ever been and we should not waste the opportunity.”