GOLD Coast Tourism chairman Paul Donovan (pictured) today called upon industry heavyweights to stop ‘turning on each other’ during a luncheon with Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Jan Jarratt at the Sofitel Broadbeach.
In front of a packed room consisting of tourism and business leaders and local government representatives, Donovan squared his aim at what he perceived to be a lack of cohesion between operators and negative media sentiment surrounding the troubled sector.
“Never before have we faced such a huge list of issues, but if we apply ourselves and don’t turn on one another, we can find a lot of positives,” he says.
“The Gold Coast is not on its knees. I’m sick of the whinge-fest. We need to stop turning on one another.”
While Tiger and Jetstar passengers remain stranded at the Gold Coast Airport on a perfect winter’s day due to a volcanic ash cloud lingering over the southern capitals, Donovan sharpened his wit.
“As the ash cloud grounds more flights, passengers are staying at Gold Coast Airport for a couple of days; it’s cheaper,” he says, hinting at the affordability debate.
Donovan also raised issues surrounding security, calling on mandatory sentencing to ‘lock up the scum that invades our space’; pointed to the obvious that we don’t need more hotels – rather the focus should be to strive for higher occupancies in existing facilities and accommodation houses; and the importance of the Chinese market.
He also described the tourist park In Surfers Paradise where the bungee rocket operates as ‘the vomitron’ that should be shut down and replaced with greenery.
Minister Jarratt used the occasion to assure operators that ‘the only contrast in this world is change’. She says the industry creates 28,000 jobs on the Gold Coast and that the State Government’s event funding allocation would help to bolster the conference sector.
Jarratt also urged local tourism operators to adapt to the fast moving iTourism sector if they’re to survive in the new business landscape.
“Digital tourism is connecting the consumer to the operator like never before. While 84 per cent of tourism operators have a website, just 42 per cent have online booking facilities,” she says.
Jarratt says 10 per cent export growth and 8.5 per cent economic growth was expected for the tourism industry. She says forward bookings for September and October were looking ‘reasonably good’ for the Gold Coast, after speaking to a few operators.
It was the third major business tourism forum on the Gold Coast this week, following Tourism Queensland’s discussion forum yesterday and the Gold Coast Revival Forum, hosted by the Urban Development Institute of Australia on Monday.
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