THE Rydges Tradewinds Cairns has been sold for $34 million with the new owners planning a multimillion dollar upgrade.
The property, purchased by GA Group Australia, is the first hotel acquisition for the Dubai based company and features 246 hotel rooms, located on an 8138sqm site along the Cairns Esplanade.
A spokesman for GA Group, Mark Davie, says a substantial refurbishment of the hotel is in the pipeline.
The company aims to create a five or six star offering for the Cairns market, while boosting local employment opportunities and investing significant capital expenditure into the local economy.
Davie adds that recent Smith Travel Research (STR) statistics highlighting the strength of the Australian tourism sector has underpinned the group's interest in Cairns.
STR results for the 12 months to January 2016 show that hotel occupancy rates in Cairns increased 8.6 per cent to 74.7 per cent, while rates increased by 5.9 per cent to $125.87.
The off market sale was negotiated by CBRE Hotels national director, Wayne Bunz and CBRE Cairns managing director, Danny Betros.
Bunz attributed the resurgence in the Cairns tourism market to a rediscovery of the reef, with the region receiving worldwide publicity from David Attenborough's new Great Barrier Reef documentary series.
"The international source markets of Singapore, China and the USA have registered the strongest growth in visitor numbers year to date, increasing 32 per cent, 10 per cent and 7 per cent respectively," says Bunz.
Betros adds that the sale is another positive for the Cairns region, which was benefitting from strong ongoing investment.
"We are very pleased to have secured new capital that is not only looking to acquire the hotel but is also seeking to substantially invest in the Cairns tourism sector," says Betros.
The hotel was sold by Abacus Funds Management as part of an ongoing asset sell down, with the net proceeds to be applied to the repayment of debt obligations.
The fund has two hotel assets remaining, Rydges Esplanade in Cairns and Novotel Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.
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