MAYOR Tom Tate has backed calls for the commercialisation of our beaches as a way of broadening our tourism offerings post COVID-19.
It comes after Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan said it was time for the city to think differently about the how to earn revenue from the region’s golden beaches.
“My view is – and it upsets people – we need to have commercialisation of the beaches like Bali,” he told reporters on Monday, following a meeting with Councillors about future tourism funding.
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“I would never go to Bali but, you know, have the commercialisation of the beaches. We need to keep investing and re-engineering ourselves.”
Mr Donovan suggested the possibility of turning The Spit into a restaurant hub.
Mayor Tom Tate has confirmed that is an idea he would back.
“I would like to trial it first,” Cr Tate told reporters on Tuesday.
“You want to trial it at a spot where it’s going to have class and good service. I would stay to The Star Casino, since they purchased The Sheraton, on the ocean-side there … [I’m] happy to work with them to see if we can do commercialisation on the beach-side there so you can have your services, you can have your umbrella.
“It’s away from other people but it’s still open to the public.”
His vision didn’t include Bali-style beach clubs and bars, but rather simple services that won’t involve too much intrusion for locals just wanting to enjoy the sand and the surf.
“To a lot of people out there who like a walk on the beach and surf and all that – don’t worry – this is only a very small part in the commercialised area,” Mr Tate said.
“This is not really just about the road to recovery, this is taking us, as a tourist destination, to the next stage to keep in pace with being competitive.”
Mr Donovan also suggested the region focus more on environmentally-focused tourism developments, claiming he had spent years pushing projects like a forest cableway up to Springbrook.
“I’ve got a finite term in my life to keep pushing this stuff, but I won’t stop because it’s important,” Mr Donovan said.
The Mayor has previously backed the idea and admits it will have to be something looked at between Council and the Queensland and Federal governments.
“My attitude is we have got to broaden our tourism offering and it would be right for us to look at it,” Mr Tate said.
However, Mr Tate said it was a project that would have to be put on the back burner until after the coronavirus crisis, with money needed to be funnelled into other areas first.
“It’s a lower priority.”