THE problem with the Gold Coast is it doesn’t know if it’s Arthur or Martha.
Is it a laid back, family-friendly, theme park-loving tourist hotspot or should it be marketing itself, as Mayor Tom Tate wants, as the Las Vegas of Australia?
Perhaps it can be both but I’m not sure Las Vegas is the model we should be aiming to imitate.
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Cr Tate has suggested the Gold Coast take advantage of tougher NSW nightclub laws and daylight saving to woo Tweed drinkers over the border for an extra hour.
But he wants to take it further with a marketing campaign to attract partygoers to the Gold Coast just like Las Vegas is the party capital of the US.
They could do The Hangover IV on the Coast, said Cr Tate, no doubt imagining a walk on role for himself.
But, he hastened to add, that’s not to say the Gold Coast would be portrayed as a lawless place of drunken mayhem!
Has he actually seen any of The Hangover movies?
“Las Vegas is a very big party city, but they have almost zero trouble in their entertainment zone,” he said.
That’s because most of the city’s resources are focused on keeping the tourist strip alive.
In other parts of the city it’s a different story.
The global financial crisis slammed Las Vegas.
One out of every six jobs disappeared, home prices dropped 50 per cent, construction projects ground to a halt, tourist spending plunged.
Outside of the main entertainment drag, there are half built housing estates, unfinished high rises, and shuttered businesses.
Crime and poverty has soared.
They are now working hard to make Las Vegas more than a one economy town – to have less sin and more city – by chasing foreign investment and the IT, medical and defence sectors.
Visitors are returning but they are spending less.
The city’s business leaders are reconciled to never again seeing the prosperous economy they enjoyed just a few years ago.
Is this the role model we want for the Gold Coast?
There is one example we can take from Las Vegas and that is its determination to attract new industries to the city to protect itself from future economic downturns.
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